Fewer OFWs work as house helps in Saudi

Published by rudy Date posted on May 9, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – Fewer Filipino women are leaving the country to work as household service workers (HSWs) in Saudi Arabia, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported yesterday.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the deployment of HSWs in Saudi Arabia has dramatically dropped by about 80 percent since the Kingdom stopped the Philippine government’s mandatory verification of employment contracts.

“Based on preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the deployment of HSWs dropped by about 80 percent since March,” Baldoz said.

She attributed the significant decline to the fact that only returning workers are able to leave and work in the Kingdom.

“Since Saudi suspended the verification, the POEA has also stopped the processing of new hires which means only those returning to previous employers were allowed to go,” Baldoz said.

The labor chief said the country deploys about 13,000 Filipino HSWs to Saudi annually and a majority of them are new hires.

Last March 12, the Saudi embassy sent a note verbale prohibiting the Philippine government from undertaking the mandatory processing and verification of employment contracts for HSWs.

The Saudi government did not state the reason for the imposition of the restriction, but there were reports that it was meant to protest the Philippine government’s $400 minimum monthly salary for household workers as well as requirement for Saudi employers to submit a detailed sketch of their house address before a job order could be approved.

The Philippine government has been implementing such strict requirements since 2006 in an effort to protect Filipino household workers from possible abuses.

Representatives of the Philippine and Saudi governments met a few weeks ago, but still failed to resolve the issue. –Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star)

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