Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Report: 160 Pinays arrested in UAE over 'illegal' wedding work

At least 160 Filipinas and one Indonesian were arrested for allegedly working illegally at an elite wedding reception at the World Trade Center in the United Arab Emirates.

UAE-based news site Khaleej Times reported Thursday that The Department of Naturalisation and Residency Dubai is looking into the workers' status after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested them.

Philippine Labor Attaché Amilbahar Amihasan said his office has sent a request letter for the list of detainees at the Al Aweer Detention Center of the Immigration a day after the arrest.

“We are informed... that the request letter is now with the higher authorities and six of the 160 are handed over to the authorities in other emirates, which issued their residency visa," he said. 

Amihasan added authorities in Manila have already been alerted of the incident.

The report said the arrested women include absconders, those on visit visa and holders of either husband’s visa or employment visa from other sponsors.

It added they were allegedly working part-time at the wedding reception and were caught just before leaving the World Trade Center premises after work at 2 a.m. Friday last week.

Capt. Abdullah Khalid of the Investigation and Follow-Up Section said those under husband’s visa would be released upon surrender of their passports.

All others, particularly absconders and holders of visit visa and employment visa from other sponsors, would be deported if found guilty of illegally working at the time of the arrest.

He said no action would be taken against those who can present proof that they have an offer letter or visa under process, or have permission from their sponsor and the Ministry of Labor to work at the function during the arrest.

Visit visa-holders or holders of visa from other sponsors will be deported as they are not allowed to work in the event under the UAE law.

After the investigation, the cases of the 160 will be forwarded to prosecution and then to court for deportation of those who are found violating the UAE's labor laws.

The report also cited sources who said the arrested women were hired part-time by five wedding organizing companies, four of which are run by Filipino organizers and one by an Indian.

It quoted one of the wedding organizers who requested anonymity as saying the arrest was triggered by the sighting of one of the absconders working part-time at the wedding reception by her lady employer.

“Her employer rang the CID and they were arrested as the workers finished cleaning the reception area and were ready to leave the World Trade Center," the source said.

She said two of the organizers were also taken by the CID for interrogation. “I do not know if they are already released," she said. — LBG/RSJ, GMANews.TV

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