Saudi authorities have reportedly removed the mandatory DNA test requirement for undocumented children in a move expected to allow thousands of Filipino women to return home with their babies during the current amnesty period.
Saudi Gazette reports that DNA tests were previously required to determine the identity of a child’s parents, but now only a birth registration certificate from the Philippine consulate is needed to allow them to leave the country.
However, sources told the publication that a number of requests by other undocumented Filipino workers were rejected due to the applicants being under investigation.
Passport authorities in the kingdom have extended visiting days for Philippines nationals at a deportation centre in Shumaisi to facilitate the large number of applicants.
The Philippine consulate is also providing buses to transport nationals to the centre near Makkah.
Some 5,675 Filipino workers have left Saudi in the western region alone since the start of the three-month amnesty at the end of March, Philippine consul general Imelda M. Panolong was quoted as saying.
She said a further 4,300 had been referred to the Expatriate Affairs Department of Saudi Passports at the Shumaisi deportation centre, of which 2,893 had been able to secure exit visas.
The Philippines government is paying for the airfares of nationals returning home through the amnesty.
Following the amnesty period, the Saudi government is expected to begin a crackdown on illegal workers.
More than 2.5 million visa violators left the country during a previous amnesty in 2013.