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Bacolod City, PhilippinesSaturday, May 16, 2009
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Online inquiry service
launched for OFW’s

Overseas Filipino workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can now inquire about the status of their Iqamas or obtain information on their application for exit and entry visas and other procedures through the Internet, the Department of Labor and Employment reported.

Citing information from the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Makati City, Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito Roque said the KSA's Ministry of Interior has launched an online service which would allow Saudi citizens and expatriates including OFW’s to inquire about their ID’s, Iqamas, and visas.

The service also includes inquiries on the eligibility to perform Haj and other procedures in the Kingdom.

Roque welcomed the new electronic service as this would spare the OFWs from going through the tedious process of inquiring directly with concerned offices in KSA about the status of required documents such as Iqamas and visas.

The website can also provide KSA employers a list of their workers from abroad who have not yet been issued iqamas -- an official identity card showing an individual as a resident of the Kingdom.

Without an iqama, one cannot open a bank account, buy a car, or rent a place to live in Saudi Arabia, the DOLE report said.

The employer usually takes the initiative of ensuring that his/her foreign employee receives an iqama but foreign workers in the Kingdom shall take the initiative in the iqama's renewal.

Roque said OFW’s can log on to for the needed information.

He called on Filipino groups in KSA to inform their members about the new online service even as he directed the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in KSA to massively circulate an advisory on such service in the Filipino community in the Kingdom.

KSA remains the top destination for OFW’s with a total of 275,933 deployed there covering 28.3 percent or over a fourth of the total 974,399 OFW deployment in 2008.

Owing to the large OFW population in KSA, the DOLE established four POLOs in the Kingdom - in Riyadh, Al Khobar, CRO, and Jeddah where large concentrations of OFW’s are situated.*



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