The Philippines’ ambassador in Kuwait has urged the Kuwaiti government to extend its amnesty period for Filipinos violators of the country’s residency laws to either return home without paying fines or amend their legal status.

Renato Pedro O. Villa said those who wish to amend their legal status and stay in the country will need more time and urged Kuwait’s Interior Ministry to extend its three-week amnesty period, Arab Times reports.

Villa expressed gratitude that the Ministry had declared the amnesty. He said that there were currently about 10,000 undocumented Filipinos in Kuwait, and that 2,000 of them wanted to make use of the amnesty period to leave the country.

On the first day of the amnesty, around 1,000 undocumented Filipino workers queued outside of the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait to avail themselves of it.

The amnesty period is intended to run from January 29 to February 22. Its announcement came in the wake of a diplomatic spat between the Philippines and Kuwait after the former’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, issued statements concerning the conditions of the Filipino community in Kuwait in the wake of the deaths of seven Filipino expatriates in December. The Philippines’ Ministry of Labor has suspended sending new workers to Kuwait until it is given more information about those deaths.