At least 7,000 household service workers have been barred from working in Saudi Arabia since last March when the Kingdom suspended processing their work papers, a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) official said Tuesday.
“Since March 12, when the suspension of the verification and authentication on the papers of new hires were imposed, we were no longer able to deploy any household workers [to Saudi Arabia],” POEA administrator Carlos Cao Jr. said.
The suspension was implemented by Saudi government in protest of the stiff requirements imposed by the Philippine embassy in Riyadh on Saudi employers.
For instance, the Philippine government is requiring Saudi households to give maids and drivers minimum salary of $400 a month. The Saudi government, however, is standing pat on $240.
The Kingdom’s Ministry of Labor then stood firmer on its Saudization policy when it said last Wednesday that it will stop hiring Filipino domestic workers due to the Philippines “strict requirements and supposedly unfair regulatory provisions.”
At the time, Saudi Arabia said it will stop issuing work visas to domestic helpers starting July 2.
The Philippines is also requiring Saudi employers to submit police clearance, vicinity map or sketch of the residence, and names of the members family members.
The Saudi government did not appreciate the requirements set by the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) communications director Nicon Fameronag said the Philippine government is ready to assist some 7,000 would-be overseas workers by offering them employment in other countries.
Hong Kong, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Singapore, Bahrain, Oman, Cyprus, and Italy are presently in need of workers, particularly coming from the Philippines, Fameronag said.
He also encouraged them to apply for local jobs by visiting the DOLE’s Phil-Job system, where over 50,000 jobs are posted online.
They could also avail of the P2-billion reintegration loan fund from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the DOLE’s skills training package dubbed Balik-Pinay, Balik-Hanapbuhay. — With Jesse Edep/VS, GMA News