The Philippines’ Labor department has imposed a temporary deployment ban on workers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over requirements allegedly imposed by Saudi employers.
The Labor department has reportedly received reports that departing Filipino workers are being required by their employers and recruitment agencies to shoulder the costs of health and safety protocol for COVID-19.
“In the interest of the service, you are hereby instructed to effect the temporary suspension of deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia effective immediately and until further notice,” read a memorandum from Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
The lack of “clear and expressed” guidelines on who would shoulder the cost of the quarantine expenses and insurance of migrant workers prompted the Labor secretary to temporarily stop the deployment of Filipino workers.
“I think that information angered a little the Secretary and that prompted him to issue the order,” said Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag in a forum on Friday, May 28.
He said there had been complaints coming from workers who were supposedly made to pay for their insurance and quarantine fees.
“Actually we are instructed to make a report, make a submission on what the guidelines are. Who will really shoulder the cost because undergoing quarantine there is expensive,” said Macauyag.
“The Secretary wants that there must be specific guidelines stating that the employer must be the one tasked to pay for the cost of these expenses for quarantine and insurance,” he added.
Macauyag assured workers that the deployment ban is “very temporary.”