Updated November 2022
Overseas Filipino Workers, commonly referred to as OFWs, are Filipino nationals who are working abroad. They can be people from different walks of life involved in a range of work, from construction workers to professional doctors. The Philippines had initially placed a ban on OFWs from working in Saudi Arabia.
As the country resumes the deployment of workers to the Middle East by 7 November, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia have inked deals to assure the welfare of OFWs. Here are the latest updates released by both the governments and the latest updates on the resumption of OFWs to Saudi Arabia.
OFW Saudi Arabia latest news 2022
From 7 November 2022, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) through its overseas labor posts in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al-Khobar, resumed the verification of new contracts for Saudi-bound OFWs after almost a year of non-hiring of new OFWs due to the global pandemic and other welfare concerns.
Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said the resumption of deployment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was a result of a joint consensus between the two countries after several months of negotiations and continuing talks.
“Under a new employment contract that ensures greater workers’ protection, our workers would now be able to find gainful employment in one of the world’s biggest labor markets, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Ople said.
OFW Saudi Arabia updates
DMW Undersecretary Patricia Yvonne M. Caunan enumerated the labor reform measures jointly adopted by the Philippines and Saudi Arabia through a series of bilateral talks between the DMW and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD):
- A new Saudi-specific employment contract with insurance coverage for domestic workers and skilled workers covering unpaid salaries, airfare, and refund of recruitment costs in case of unfinished contracts and other contingencies. The Saudi government will shoulder the insurance cost for skilled workers, while Saudi employers are mandated to pay for the insurance coverage of Filipino domestic workers.
- A pre-termination clause in the contract would specifically allow a domestic worker to transfer to or change employers before the end of the contract based on certain grounds such as the non-payment of salary.
- The adoption of a joint alternative dispute settlement mechanism would pave the way for a more transparent, fair, and amicable settlement of employment disputes.
- Integration of the contract and implementation of the Wage Protection Program, which will regulate and ensure the timely payment of wages to all OFWs; and,
- Direct referral of cases involving the trafficking and exploitation of OFWs to the MHRSD through its anti-human trafficking department.
All Saudi recruitment agencies will also have welfare desk offices (WEDO). The DMW and the Saudi government will likewise have blacklist and whitelist categories for recruitment agencies and employers. The blacklist will include abusive employers and agencies, while those who are following the rules and treating the workers properly will be on the whitelist.
Victims of human trafficking will be assisted by the Saudi government based on referrals from the DMW.
OFW Saudi Arabia salary
The DMW assured that there would be no cases of OFWs in Saudi Arabia returning home without getting their salaries. Salary payments will be made via digital or electronic methods, which means concrete evidence if the salary is delayed or incorrect.