2:00 AM 4 comments to this post
MANILA, Philippines – Saudi Arabia has virtually extended the stay of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) facing displacement because of the implementation of its new hiring policy, local recruiters said yesterday.
Recruiters said the Saudi government has deferred the implementation of the “Nitaqat” system, which requires companies to employ more local workers, to March 2012.
The Saudi Ministry of Labor was supposed to implement the Nitaqat system in August, but deferred it to give Saudi employers more time to comply with government requirements.
“There are a number of Filipinos likely to be affected in the first phase of the system’s implementation, but with the grace period they can now transfer to other companies with permission from their employers,” recruiters said.
It is estimated that up to 150,000 OFWs could face retrenchment with the new policy.
Under the Nitaqat, the Saudi Ministry of Labor classifies 300,000 local companies into four categories: excellent, green (complying companies), yellow (partially complying) and red (non-complying companies). Each is required to employ a minimum number of Saudi citizens based on company size and industry.
Yellow-coded companies will not be able to renew the work visas of foreign workers beyond six years, while red-coded companies will no longer be allowed to renew the work visas of their foreign workers.
On the other hand, green-coded companies may recruit foreign workers from the red- and yellow-coded companies even without the consent of the workers’ sponsors.