Companies must book roundtrip tickets for foreign workers who availed of the leave and were willing to return to their home countries.
For Filipino expats who were placed on leave but wished to go home amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippine mission can help coordinate with employers, which must book their plane tickets.
Marford Angeles, Consul-General and Deputy Head of Mission at the Philippine Embassy, told Khaleej Times: “The Philippine Overseas Labour Offices (Polo) in the UAE should be able to talk to (the expats’) employers and emphasise upon them their responsibility to their employees.”
Under the ‘Early Leave’ scheme recently issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), companies must book roundtrip tickets for foreign workers who availed of the leave and were willing to return to their home countries during the pandemic.
Angeles explained that if the employer fails to fulfill this obligation after the Polo mediation, the concern becomes a case for the missions’ Assistance to Nationals (ATN) section.
The ATN has long been the go-to government section of Filipino expats across the world, especially those in difficult situations – from medical assistance to legal woes and repatriation of remains.
“All Philippine embassies and consulates have ATN desks. So, if there are OFWs facing emergencies, we have an established system that handles these situations,” he added.
In their latest advisory, the missions said Filipinos may send an e-mail to the ATN if they wish to go home for good but they do not have employers, friends or relatives that can help them get plane tickets to Manila.
It said: “The embassy or consulate will be securing funds from the Philippine government so that a ticket can be bought. Once funds are secured, the repatriation shall be arranged.”
Recently, the Philippine missions have also facilitated the repatriation of 415 stranded seafarers, in cooperation with the group’s employer and the UAE authorities.
With or without the global Covid-19 crisis, Angeles assured that the government is always ready to help.
“The Philippine government will always try to do what it takes to extend assistance to our kababayan (compatriots). If there’s anything we can do for Filipinos, we will do it. That has always been our mantra,” he said.
Click here to read more news from @khaleejtimes