A labor ban by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has caused worry even among Filipino household workers already there, especially when they take their vacations in the Philippines.
This was despite the “clarification” by Philippine officials in the Kingdom that the ban applies only to new household workers.
“I have been working as a driver for a Saudi family for four years now and I want to go home for a vacation because I miss my family. I have six kids. But I am afraid that I may not be able to come back,” Saleh Lontua, 49, of Ipil, Zamboanga del Sur said in an interview on news site Arab News.
Saudi Arabia earlier announced it will stop granting work permits to Philippine and Indonesian maids due to conditions on hiring imposed by the two countries.
Lontua said his fears were based on the experience of a Filipino housemaid working for his employer, when she traveled to the Philippines for her vacation.
“She had an exit-reentry visa but immigration officials in Riyadh stamped it with ‘exit only,'” Lontua said.
The Arab News report said household workers include housemaids, drivers, cooks, gardeners and caregivers.
But an official at the Philippine Overseas Office in Riyadh (POLO-Riyadh) said the ban applies only to new household Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) intending to work in Saudi Arabia, the Arab News report said.
The POLO official said such incidents must be reported to the Philippine Embassy.
In imposing its ban on Filipino household workers, the Saudi government cited the minimum salary requirement of $400 for employers hiring Filipino maids.
Other requirements included a sketch of the employer’s residence, and proof of salary not less than SR6,000.
In a recent meeting in Manila, Saudi officials suggested a $250 minimum salary for Filipino maids but Philippine labor officials insisted on the $400 pay rate.
Despite the mandatory salary rate, many Filipino workers are still duped and paid less through contract substitution where hired workers are made to sign another contract offering much lower salaries once they arrive in the host country. — LBG, GMA News