Thousands of OFWs still stuck on Kish Island

Posted at 02/08/2013 12:36 PM | Updated as of 02/09/2013 12:13 PM

MANILA – Many Filipinos are still stranded on Kish Island in Iran, waiting to renew their visas so they can return to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to find work.

In an interview with DZMM, Fatima Arandia said the stranded Filipinos are mostly tourist visa holders who failed to find jobs in the UAE.

Kish Island /Google Map

"Yung mga visit visa, galing UAE. Pag di sila nakahanap ng work, dito [Kish Island] po talaga ang pinupuntahan nila, dito sila mage-exit. Ang rule naman sa UAE, once na lumabas ka sa UAE tapos tourist visa ka ulit or visit visa pabalik, one month kang mag stay outside UAE," explained Arandia.

Arandia, who has been working on Kish Island since 2006, said many OFWs have been staying on the island for several months while waiting for job opportunities in UAE.

“Kish Island po ang punta nila. Yun pong iba'y pinapangakuan ng employment visa na minsan naman nga ay niloloko ng employer,” Arandia said.

With no income and with the very limited money already spent on hotel accommodations, many jobless Filipinos rely on the help of kababayans based in Kish Island.

Arandia said that despite the hardships they experience while stranded on the island, many Filipinos they have assisted still refuse to return to the Philippines because of the mounting debts waiting for them back home.

“Ayaw umuwi marami na daw nasanla sa Pilipinas,” she said.

Based on her own estimate, Arandia said there could be as many as 2,000 stranded OFWs in the island. -- dzMM