Saudi bans in hiring OFWs due to wage increase

Published by rudy Date posted on March 28, 2011

An alliance of Filipino migrants rights group, with chapters in the Middle East, said the moved by the Saudi government to stop the hiring of overseas Filipino domestic workers exposes the dilemma of the Philippine government “lucrative business” of peddling its cheap human labor sans protection of their well-being, rights and welfare.

“Clashes of contending interests in peddling OFWs abroad has become more apparent now with the Saudi government imposing a ban on hiring OFW-DH,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Citing reports, the Saudi government issued a note verbale to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh saying “processing and verification of household service workers have been stopped until further notice.”

“It is quite strange that it was the Saudi government that imposes the ban, where in fact it should be the Philippine government as a response to the clamor of providing protection to OFW-DH amid rampant cases of abuses and maltreatment,” Monterona added.

The monthly wage increase of OFW-DH from $200 to $400 were seen as reasons why the Saudi government decided to impose the ban on hiring Pinay household service workers.

Monterona, however, believed there are more compelling reasons why the Saudi government imposed the ban.

“For one is the requirement asked by the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in Saudi Arabia requiring Saudi employers to submit a detailed sketch of their house address before a job order will be approved to pinpoint exactly whose household our OFW-DH is working for and that she can easily be traced and rescued in case she has been a victim of abuse and maltreatment by her employers,” Monterona added.

Monterona said prospective Saudi employers convey their opposition to the Saudi National Recruitment Committee (Sanarcom), an organization of recruitment agents, on the said requirement sometime in January.

“In fact, the Sanarcom had written to the Philippine embassy and POLO in Riyadh expressing their opposition against this policy and threatened to stop hiring OFW-DH if this will be made as a requirement as it violates Saudi employers rights to privacy as stated on the host government local laws,” Monterona added.

“Now the question pose is how the Philippine government can withstand on insisting for our OFW-DH protection amid the protest on the part of the Saudi government by imposing a ban?” Monterona asked.

He said: “Both, the Philippine and Saudi governments have been the beneficiary of OFW-DH deployment; the Philippine government sending 80,000 household service workers (HSWs) yearly to Saudi Arabia, whose remittances form part of the considerable amount sent to the Philippines, and our HSWs have been servicing 80,000 Saudi families,” Monterona added.

“Since both governments have been the beneficiary, direct and indirectly of OFW-DH services, thus, it is high time that both should recognize OFW-DH rights and welfare, and to uplift their well-being,” Monterona said.

Monterona urged the Aquino government through DoLE to consider sending a high-level labor diplomatic team to discuss with its counterpart the ban imposed by the host government and to negotiate taking into account of OFWs well being, rights and welfare. –Daily Tribune

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