On Tuesday, September 13, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople said that the Philippines will lift a prohibition that has been in place for a year on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia on November 7.
The declaration came after days of bilateral talks between the two countries on how to enhance the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of OFWs working in Saudi Arabia. Those talks focused on how to improve the working conditions of the OFWs.
“The Department of Migrant Workers and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development have reached an agreement to resume the deployment of Filipino workers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia starting on November 7th, 2022,” the two agencies said in a joint press release. “The DMW (Department of Migrant Workers) and the MHRSD (Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development) have reached an agreement to resume the deployment of Filipino workers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
In November of 2021, the Philippines made the decision to stop processing any new applications for deployment to Saudi Arabia. A number of factors contributed to the decision to implement the ban, including reports of unpaid payments totaling billions of dollars owed to Filipino construction workers and allegations that a retired general abused several Filipino laborers.
In the joint statement, the MHRSD stated that it recognizes the “important contribution of OFWs to economic and social development” and that it agrees with the DMW’s objective of a rights-based approach to the regulation of labor migration.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the most popular destination for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). As of the year 2020, there are around 470,820 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) living in the Kingdom.