The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has temporarily suspended the deployment of Filipino workers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia amid stringent and costly health protocols the Middle East country is requiring for overseas workers.
DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd issued a memorandum dated May 27, 2021 to Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administration Bernard Olalia to stop the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia.
“The Department received reports that departing OFWs are being required by their employers/foreign recruitment agencies to shoulder the costs of the health and safety protocol for Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) and insurance coverage premium upon entry in the kingdom,” the memorandum stated.
Bello said he will update the OWWA on the issue, or when deployment of OFWs to Saudi Arabia can resume.
Saudi Arabia is one of the countries in the Middle East that is still accepting OFWs despite the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
The kingdom has also issued a policy allowing the entry of OFWs who have been inoculated with China’s Sinovac. This came in the wake of social media posts claiming that Riyadh will not allow entry of travelers inoculated with China-made vaccines such as Sinopharm and Sinovac. SOVEREIGNPH