MANILA, — Over a thousand illegal overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Qatar are feared to be arrested by immigration agents as the deadline for illegal aliens ends Dec 1.

This after the Philippine Embassy in Qatar reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that only 240 out of more than 2,000 illegal OFWs have coordinated with them.

As of embassy’s last report, they have issued 240 travel documents to OFWs availing of amnesty, DFA spokesman and incoming Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia, Charles Jose said on Thursday, in a text message to the Philippine News Agency.

He said the Philippine embassy in Qatar has repeatedly informed illegal OFWs of their rights as well as the consequences should they not avail of the amnesty offered by the host country or get an exit visa to avoid deportation and put them in the list of undesirable aliens.

Our embassy is assisting our OFWs who would like to avail of the amnesty by way of, among other things: 1) coordinating with Qatar government to facilitate their exit; 2) issuing travel documents to those who need them; 3) opening the embassy on November 30, even though it’s a holiday, to render assistance, Jose explained.

Today, Dec 1 is the last day of the three-month amnesty given by the Qatari government.

A marching order to Qatari immigration officers was issued to arrest all illegal aliens starting Dec 2.

In August, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) has announced a three-month amnesty for illegal residents to leave the country without facing any legal consequences of their overstay.

A first in 12 years and the third ever in Qatar, the grace period came into force on Sept 1 and ends on Dec 1, 2016.

Foreigners who are residing in the country in violation of the provisions of Law No. 4 of 2009 Regulating the Entry, Exit, Residence and Sponsorship of Expatriates can exit the country without legal consequences.

About 6,000 illegal residents had availed of the scheme in the first three months between March 21 and June 20 during the last amnesty announced in 2004.

Source: Nam News Network