Saudi Arabia, one of the largest employers of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), is eyeing to hire more than 1 million skilled Filipino workers in the next 18 to 24 months, according to the Philippines’ Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
DMW Secretary Susan Ople said on Tuesday that the Philippine government had discussions with the private sector in Saudi Arabia for possible mass hiring under a special employment program. She said that the key sectors that are in need of Filipino talent include hotels and restaurants, construction, and information and technology
Ople said that the department will have to scale up its skills training and opportunities for job internships to accommodate the needs of Saudi Arabia while also ensuring the sustainability of its own labor force. She added that the Saudi government has allotted funds to cover the unpaid salaries of OFWs based in the Middle Eastern country.
The news comes as DMW officials and representatives from the Asia-Gulf Cooperation Council kicked off their two-day dialogue on fair and ethical recruitment and decent work for all migrant workers. Ople urged a bold discussion on how to collectively define and promote better migration governance for OFWs.
Saudi Arabia is one of the top sources of remittances for the Philippines, with OFWs sending home $2.67 billion in March, up by 3% from a year ago, amid improving economic conditions in host countries.