Better Benefits

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly

The Philippines lifted a ban on sending workers to Saudi Arabia this week after reaching an agreement with Saudi authorities to halt the exploitation of Filipino laborers in the oil-rich kingdom, the Associated Press reported.

Last year, the Southeast Asian nation stopped sending workers to Saudi Arabia over abuses, including the non-payment of wages to thousands of Filipino construction workers dating back to 2016. More than 189,000 workers were working in the desert kingdom in 2019 before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The reversal came Monday following months of negotiations between Filipino and Saudi officials to implement additional safeguards for migrant workers.

Susan Ople, head of the Philippines’ newly established Department of Migrant Workers, said the agreement will include guarantees such as the adoption of a standard employment contract that provides insurance coverage for workers in the event of the non-payment of salaries.

She added that Saudi Arabia will also adopt a more transparent and fair arrangement to settle disputes between workers and employers. Meanwhile, Saudi officials will visit the Philippines this month for a joint review of Filipino salaries and restart discussions over the unpaid construction workers.

Around 10 percent of the Philippines’ 109 million-strong population works and lives abroad. Workers often send large sums of money back home which has helped keep the Philippines’ economy afloat for decades.

Even so, Filipino authorities have come under intense pressure to boost employment and living standards in the country, to prevent people from leaving to work abroad.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states – which are also very heavily reliant on foreign labor – have come under pressure to improve working conditions and the treatment of their workers.

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at [email protected].

Copy link