DOLE lifts temporary OFW deployment ban to Saudi Arabia
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Saturday lifted the temporary deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he decided to lift the temporary ban after receiving an official communication from the Saudi government ensuring that foreign employers and recruitment agencies will shoulder the cost of health and quarantine fees of the OFWs.
“After receipt of the official communication from the Saudi government this morning which ensures us that the foreign employers and agencies will shoulder the costs of institutional quarantine and other [COVID-19] protocols upon arrival in the KSA, the temporary suspension of deployment to the Kingdom is hereby lifted,” Bello said.
He added that he already advised the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to immediately implement the lifting of the ban and to “provide the necessary clearance to all our departing Filipino workers to facilitate their travel” to Saudi Arabia.
On Friday, Bello ordered a temporary deployment ban to Saudi Arabia over the lack of “clear and expressed” guidelines that the employers will be the ones to shoulder the health and quarantine expenses of Filipino migrant workers once they arrive there.
“I understand that the suspension order drew confusion and irritation among our affected departing OFWs,” the Labor chief said.
“Again, I apologize for the inconvenience and momentary anguish that it may have caused our dear OFWs. It was in the best interest of our OFWs that such a decision had to be made,” he added.
Bello then thanked the Saudi government for immediately acting to resolve the matter and assuring the Philippines that Saudi-bound Filipino workers “will no longer be disadvantaged.”
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