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ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM YOUR GOVT AGENCIES >> POEA
Dim Prospects for OFWs in 2011
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Dim Prospects for OFWs in 2011

MANILA, Jan. 4 -- An alliance of Filipino expatriates based in Saudi Arabia said it sees “bleak job prospects” for overseas Filipino workers in 2011, mainly due to the downtrend in OFW deployment last year and labor policy changes by host countries.

“The downtrend in the deployment of OFWs is a serious concern, not only to the government, but more to the 4.6-million unemployed and underemployed Filipinos who are seriously considering to work abroad due to worsening economic condition and rising unemployment rate in the Philippines,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East (ME) regional coordinator.

The POEA reported that 1.079 million OFWs were deployed between January and October, 2010, compared to 1.112 million deployed during the same period in 2009. This equates to more than a three percent drop in deployment rate. The POEA cited some of the reasons that resulted in the decrease, such as continuing effect of the global financial crisis; the massive deployment of other workforce-sending countries like Indonesia, and partly due to the implementation of compulsory OFW insurance.

However, Monterona said the agency failed to mention one of the important factors that slowed down the hiring of OFWs – the labor market reforms, which is being introduced by receiving countries, especially in the Middle East. He cited as an example the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government, which is implementing 20 percent job reservation for its nationals as part of its labor market reforms. Monterona said the UAE Labor Ministry is expected to implement a quota system in hiring expatriate workers in line with its aim of boosting the employment of local citizens over foreign workers.

“Though OFW deployment in UAE keeps on increasing yearly, the percentage of such increase slows down notably from 2008 to 2009, as the POEA record shows,” Monterona observed. He added that even Saudi Arabia, with a relatively stable economy compared to other Arab nations, are also implementing what he called “Saudization,” a version of UAE’s policy, and requiring private companies to hire local citizens as five percent of its staff. Monterona noted that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been the top two OFW-receiving countries from 2003 to 2009. “Since these countries are now introducing labor market reforms geared towards more restrictions, then we are seeing a dim prospect of OFW deployment by 2011,” he pointed out.