Saudization to worsen employment woes-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Saturday, July 23, 2011
AT A time when employment opportunities in the country are declining, another policy from the country's top foreign employer might pose problems for Filipino migrant workers, a government official said.
The recent Saudization policy of Saudi Arabia might affect job opportunities for non-skilled workers, said Delfina Camarillo, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration-Cordillera director.
Camarillo said although effects of the policy are not felt at its early stage this year, the Middle Eastern state's new ruling will affect the country's economy partly as remittances from millions of overseas Filipino workers there will decline.
However, Camarillo pacified concerns of skilled workers there as they are unlikely to be retrenched since most Filipinos working there have high-end skills unmatched by skills of residents of the oil-rich state.
At their regional office, she said they have a steady rate of workers landing jobs in Saudi Arabia despite the policy.
She said only a few with visas stamped for "exit only" were not able to go back because many employers there still re-hire Filipino workers.
She said jobs that might be affected will probably fall in the administrative, sales and staff services sector as the state will prioritize their residents first before hiring other foreign nationalities.
Housekeeping jobs might also be affected, as early reports from Migrante International recently showed some 150,000 Filipina domestic helpers in danger of not having their contracts renewed.
Camarillo stressed the Philippine government policy will not allow domestic helpers to work there with salaries below US$400.
As to Filipino nurses there, Camarillo said that as skilled workers, nurses need not worry especially those from private hospitals as most of them are preferred employees of the state.
Saudi Arabia remains as the top client of the country in terms of foreign employment with over two million Filipinos and their families living in the country.
Camarillo said from 2008 to 2010 alone, some 8,000 Cordillerans went to Saudi Arabia for employment but estimates from the agency showed Cordillerans working there could be as high as 15,000 to 20,000 especially as many workers have established jobs there since the 1980s to 1990s.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 23, 2011.