‘Middle East, not US, will provide jobs for OFWs’

Published by rudy Date posted on January 28, 2009

The Middle East and not the United States will provide jobs for overseas Filipino workers, the recruitment industry reported yesterday.

Contrary to the claim of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, recruitment leaders said the hiring of Filipino health care professionals to the United States would not save the country from the ill effects of the global financial crisis.

“We should not be giving false hopes to our healthcare professionals that they can easily enter and work in the United States,” recruitment leader Lito Soriano said.

He said data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed that only 187 Filipino nurses entered the US in 2007 and that hiring of nurses there has been steadily declining for the past five years.

He added that the US deployment was way below the hiring in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.

Soriano reported that the US Department of Homeland Security has imposed strict control measures for the entry of workers since 2001, and even recent recommendations by the US CIS Ombudsman to speed up the processing of nurses’ petitions would not take effect soon.

He said Filipino nurses still hoping to get jobs abroad should look to the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia, which is now hiring more than 5,000 nurses.

He urged the government to immediately call a multi-sectoral summit that would tackle the impact of the global financial crisis on OFWs.

Meanwhile, the recruitment sector welcomed the government’s initiatives to study possible deployment of Filipinos to Iraq.

Vice President Noli de Castro met recently with Iraq’s Charge d’Affairs Adel Mawlood Al-Hakimh, who conveyed the need of Iraq to hire millions of workers for construction, engineering, health, tourism and services this year.

More than 15,000 undocumented Filipinos are now working in Iraq, particularly in US bases. – Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star

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