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Number of Middle East OFWs predicted to decline amid oil price slump

With the steady decline of oil prices in the global market, the recruitment industry urged the government to start coming out with a new program for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who may be displaced as oil-rich countries in the Middle East start implementing austerity measures.

FILE - This Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, file photo, Saudi Arabian city view with the 'Kingdom Tower', background, and 'Al-Faislia Tower' in Riyadh. WikiLeaks’ publication of more than 60,000 Saudi documents has set pens racing across the Middle East with disclosures about the secretive Arab monarchy’s foreign affairs. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

Saudi Arabian city view with the ‘Kingdom Tower’, background, and ‘Al-Faislia Tower’ in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

LBS Recruitment Solutions Corp. President Loreto “Lito” Soriano disclosed they are projecting fewer OFWs will be deployed in Middle East if the oil prices slump persists up to June.

He said the declining revenues from oil has prompted some Arab countries to postpone some infrastructure projects and forced some oil companies to cut cost.

Citing the case of their deployment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the recruitment leader noted they already observed a decline in the number of Saudi employers, who arrived in the country to interview their applicants.

He, however, quickly added deployment in KSA remains stable for now.

KSA is currently the top destination country of OFWs bound to the Middle East.

Among the OFWs who will be affected by the economic crises in the region are those working in the construction and oil industry.

Soriano said the government should now start coming up with a new contingency plan if the oil problem takes a turn for the worse.

Blas F. Ople Policy Center president Susan Ople supported the proposal, especially since most of the existing alternative employment and livelihood provided by the government through its reintegration program does not meet the qualifications of the workers, who might be displaced.

She said the government’s reintegration packages, which are geared towards household service workers, will not be suitable for the affected OFWs who are highly skilled and used to receiving high salaries.

Based from data of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), there are around 2 million OFWs in the KSA alone and million others in other Middle East nations.

Meanwhile, Migrante Middle East regional coordinator John Monterona urged the government on Sunday to verify a report of a OFWs center in the Najran, a city in the southern region of KSA, was bombed by Yemeni rebels last week.

He said the report, which appeared in an online article of a local news agency, was debunked by an OFW in Najran.

“Validation of such report and other related information especially pertaining to the situation of the 5,000 OFWs, mostly household service workers and construction workers, in that area, would lead the PH authorities to make good decisions sans politicking and sensationalization,” Monterona said.

  • Simon

    Hindi na ako nagwo-worry mawalan ng trabajo. Marami naman daw trabajong nag-aantay sa amin sa pag-uwi sabi ni PNOY. Tapos ang maganda nito mababawasan na ang trapik kasi magkakaroon na ng LRT papuntang Cavite. Mabuhay ka Pnoy! Tunay kang pag-asa ng Bayan! Mabuhay ka rin Abaya!