The Philippines government is considering banning its citizens from working as household help in Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE due to concerns over workers’ safety.
The Department of Foreign Affairs recommended the ban, citing the three countries’ non-compliance with Philippines labor laws. The Philippines only sends its people to countries that have “existing labor and social laws protecting the rights of workers.”
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is taking the recommendation under advisement.
Such a decision would have an enormous impact on the estimated 10 million overseas Filipino workers, a huge percentage of whom work in household services like gardening, driving and cleaning.
Arabian Business reports:
Approval of the DFA recommendation would likely result in a 50 percent decline of Filipino HSWs deployment in the next few months, Philippines media said…
In 2010 alone, the total deployment of HSWs reached 96,583, with Hong Kong as the top destination. Kuwait ranked second with 21,554 Filipino domestic workers followed by UAE with 13,184, and Qatar fifth with 9,937, according to an industry source.
Meanwhile, efforts to improve working conditions for Filipino expats are also affecting the labor market in Saudi Arabia, which stopped issuing work permits for Indonesian and Filipino domestic workers in July.
Qatar’s approach to the issue of worker abuse and protection is muddled.
On the one hand, it is discussing a new law to define and enforce maids’ rights, but on the other, it has also announced plans to find domestic workers from untapped countries, including China, Nepal and Kenya.
The latter move has been criticized as a deliberate strategy to circumvent wage and treatment requirements from countries where Qatar’s domestic labor currently comes from, including the Philippines.
What do you guys think about the potential ban?
Could it prompt Gulf countries to get tough on worker rights, or will they just end up sourcing labor from other nations?