Oliver Bugarin 0 0 0 5 min to read

PH and KSA concur to end the deployment ban beginning November 7.

An agreement between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will begin to ease the embargo on sending Filipino employees to the Middle Eastern nation on November 7.

Tuesday night, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan Ople announced that she and Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmad Bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi had signed a memorandum of understanding.

“We appreciate that Minister Al-Rajhi and the Saudi government share our concern for the rights of our employees. Likewise, Ople remarked, “We plan to move forward by cooperating on putting procedures that would assure the preservation of our workers’ rights and wellbeing.

She also expressed gratitude to the Saudi Arabian Embassy of the Philippines and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for their cooperation and advice throughout the bilateral discussions.

Ople claimed that the DMW and the DFA were to “operate together and speak with one voice” by a mandate from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

She also said that both nations agreed to work together to combat migrant labor trafficking, another top goal of the present administration, and to protect the rights of Filipino workers.

Both nations thanked each other for the “important contributions of overseas Filipino workers to the Saudi economic and social development” in a joint statement.

The UN Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration and the fundamental and technical ILO Conventions Saudi Arabia has ratified are both recognized by the DMW and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s labor reform initiatives to further enhance the protection of migrant workers, according to the statement.

A Technical Working Group made up of members from both parties was established during the bilateral negotiations between the two nations to monitor the implementation of labor reforms and cooperatively address worker issues.

Additionally, they committed to developing a fully automated hiring procedure in both nations as well as a blacklist and whitelist of Saudi businesses and employment agencies.

A pre-termination clause, insurance for unpaid wages, prompt release of salaries through electronic payments, and other provisions under the Saudi Labor Reform Initiatives will all be included in the revisions that the Philippines and the KSA agreed to make to the standard employment contract for OFWs.

They will also call for frequent joint committee meetings to guarantee complete adherence to the agreements and address difficulties in implementing these labor changes.

A memorandum of agreement between the two nations will also be signed regarding the fight against human trafficking, the investigation and prosecution of offenders, and the support of OFWs who have been the victims of trafficking.

The Saudi Labor Ministry also agreed to investigate a proposal to shorten the employment contract for domestic employees from two years to one year, with the option of an additional year’s extension if both sides consented.

At the end of the day, Ople stated, “our joint goal must be to deliver to the world a special and lasting collaboration that will serve as the gold standard in how labor migration governance must and can be done.”

A deployment prohibition has been in effect since last year due to allegations that OFWs employed in Saudi Arabia were subjected to exploitation and unfair labor practices.

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