60,000 OFWs hired last month

Published by rudy Date posted on January 9, 2009

More than 60,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were hired in various countries abroad in the last month of 2008 despite the financial crisis, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) reported yesterday.

POEA chief Jennifer Manalili said OFWs filled at least 61,000 of the 450,000 existing overseas job vacancies abroad last December.

“We now have a current balance of 389,000 active job orders from the previous 450,000,” Manalili said, noting that the POEA posted a total of 650,563 new job orders from January to December 2008.

Manalili said the remaining job orders can be filled by qualified overseas Filipino workers this year.

According to Manalili, it takes time for the country to fill the job vacancies abroad, not due to a shortage of workers but because of the strict requirements in securing visas from the embassies of countries employing the OFWs.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque has expressed confidence that the country’s overseas deployment last year could reach 1.3 million.

“We have already recorded over 1.2 million deployment as of November so if we will add those who left in December, the figure could hopefully hit a record high of 1.3 million,” Roque said.

Meanwhile, Philippine labor attaché to Kuwait Josephus Jimenez said the hiring of Filipino workers in the Arab country could reach as many as 70,000 this year even with the prevailing financial crisis.

“On the average, I approve 200 employment contracts daily so we could easily fill a minimum 12,000 job vacancies and even exceed 30,000 based on our current trend,” Jimenez pointed out.

Jimenez noted that Kuwait is a cash economy and therefore unlikely to be affected by the current financial crisis.

He added that Arab employers continue to prefer Filipino workers over other nationalities.

“Filipino workers are the highest paid professionals in Kuwait,” he said.

Jimenez said the government is also exerting efforts to veer away from so-called “five Ds” – dirty, difficult, dangerous, degrading, and deceptive – jobs being offered.

Of the 140,000 Filipinos currently employed in Kuwait, Jimenez said, 60,000 are domestic helpers.

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