20 November 2011

Saudi's plan to cap remittances

About 1.2 million overseas Filipino workers in Saudi could be disillusioned once the plan of that kingdom to cap remittances of its overseas workers pushes through.

About the same number of Filipinos, too, could be affected since those OFWs since were able to send $1.5 billion back home last year.

About nine out of 10 workers in that kingdom are foreigners—6 million of which are employed in the private sector. “This has led to millions of riyals being transferred back to their home countries, harming the local economy," Adel Fakih, the Saudi Arabian labour minister was reported saying.

That’s not just the problem. About 150,000 OFWs could be displaced there also, Rep. Arnel Ty of the LPG Marketers Association (LPGMA) found out, due to the the Saudization scheme or the Nitaqat program.

Under the new labor law, companies have to allot job positions to Saudi citizens. “In phase 3 of Nitaqat, employees of companies in noncompliant or those in the so-called 'red' category would have to transfer to ‘green’ or compliant companies,” Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, related.

This isn’t the first time the KSA had the Philippines worried. It had refused, too, to pay a minimum of $400 monthly wage for Filipino domestic workers.

But Carlos Cao Jr., chief of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), is confident that the Saudi labor will not be implemented “drastically" and “on a full scale." Nevertheless, he suggested OFWs to look for jobs in Guam, Australia, and Canada instead.

Also, ‘Saudis prefer handling positions in office environments,’ Ernesto Herrera, former senator and secretary-general of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) divulged. The OFWs usually take on skilled jobs "that Saudi citizens themselves do not want, or could not provide."

Last year, Saudi Arabia hired 8,513 professional nurses and 258 nursing personnel—a very far figure from the hiring done by the United States, which employed only 83 Pinoy nurses.

Ang nurses ay kailangan sa Saudi kaya hindi puwede nilang basta bastang sabihing matatanggal 'yan because of Saudization. Sila din ang tatamaan no'n,” Josefino Torres, deputy administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), said.

"Because of OFWs, 10 million Filipinos have jobs. Because of OFWs, malls are enjoying brisk sales and banks are posting double-digit revenue and profit growth. Because of OFWs, and together with the business process outsourcing industry, the Philippines is experiencing what may be its longest real estate boom.” ~ Senator Manny B. Villar


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