OVCERSEAS Filipino workers (OFWs) are still needed in the Middle East with the expected construction of industrial and economic cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the next 15 years.

Citing reports from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said Saudi will need at least 10 million local and foreign workers for the construction works there.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

POEA report further stated that the medium to long-term socio-economic development plans in Saudi include the development of 12 mega industrial and economic cities across the Kingdom which are expected to employ millions of local and foreign workers until 2024.

Roque said the construction of the mega cities is expected to sustain the employment of hundreds of thousands of OFWs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), adding that the labor department looks forward to continuous hiring of OFWs in the KSA this year and until 2024.

“With the robust construction activities aimed at making the KSA one of the world’s top investment destinations, it is projected that the Kingdom will remain the top OFW destination over the next several years,” Roque said.

The labor chief added that OFWs in the construction sector will continue to be in demand in the KSA.

The POEA data showed that the KSA will be in need of aluminum installers, architects, carpenters, concrete finishers, draftsmen, drillers, electric/mechanical assistants, electricians, engineers, erectors, fabricators, foremen, heavy equipment operators, watchmen, mason, pipefitters, plaster painters, plasterers, plumbers, riggers, safety officers, welders, and mechanics. Oil and gas workers will also be in demand in the Kingdom.

Meantime, the following four integrated economic cities have already been launched in the KSA at a cost of about US$16 billion: 1) King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, KSA with a potential to create one million jobs; 2) Jazan Economic City in Jazan, KSA which is projected to generate 500,00 new jobs; 3) Prince Abdullaziz Bin Moussaed Economic City in Hail, KSA which expected to become the largest transportation and logistics hub and supply chain centers in the Middle East; and 4) Knowledge Economic City in Madinah, KSA.

Other economic cities already launched in the KSA are the Hail Industrial City and Al-Mal Economic City. The Kingdom’s development projects also include a US$5.3 billion (SR20 billion) light rail, buses, and sea transport system.

Jeddah, KSA’s largest city and gateway of pilgrims to Makkah and Madinah, will also develop housing units and tourist sites that would include the establishment of hotels, malls, transport facilities, and recreational centers. Multi-billion dollar projects providing for the construction of nine villages with retail and leisure amenities, mosques, and educational and healthcare facilities will also be pursued in the KSA’s Eastern Province. (MSN/Sunnex)