A recent move by Saudi Arabia to stop employing Filipinos as domestic workers has recruitment agencies worried that other GCC countries will follow suit.
“We are concerned about the far-reaching repercussions,” Victor Fernandez, president of the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, which represents 700 licensed recruitment agencies, told The National.
“Saudi is a dominant force in the GCC, and if it is taking this position, other countries may consider a similar move.”
Two weeks ago, the kingdom sent a diplomatic note to the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, stating that ”the processing and verification of household service workers have been stopped until further notice.”
The National reports on why Saudi may have imposed such a ban:
Saudi employers are now required to submit a detailed sketch of the accommodation they will provide to the domestic helper before the Philippine overseas labour offices will approve the job order. Employers in the UAE do not have to provide this information.
Saudi employers are saying that this violates their right to privacy,” said John Leonard Monterona, the Middle East regional co-ordinator for Migrante, a Filipino migrant rights group. “This may be one of the reasons why the Saudi government stopped the processing of household workers’ contracts.”
About 320,000 of the 1.6 million Filipinos employed in the kingdom are domestic workers.
Walden Bello, a member of the Philippine congress, took offense to the recent ban, saying “The ban should have begun from the Philippines’ side and not from Saudi Arabia.”
Last month, he and three other legislators presented a report, The Dark Kingdom: The Conditions of Overseas Filipino Workers in Saudi Arabia, to the Philippine Congress.