Thursday, July 07, 2011

140,000 Filipinos 'could lose jobs in Saudi Arabia

MANILA - UP TO 140,000 Philippine workers could lose their jobs in Saudi Arabia due to a domestic helper ban and a programme to compel firms to employ more locals, the Filipino labour minister said on Thursday.

Between 20,000 to 50,000 Filipino domestic workers in the kingdom could be hit by Saudi Arabia's decision announced last month to stop granting work permits to Philippine and Indonesian maids, Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said.

Another 90,000 Filipinos of the 1.3 million working there could be affected by the new policy of imposing quotas for local staff, though the specialised skills of the majority should allow many to hang on to their jobs, she added.

'Let us not talk about everyone being sent home. That is impossible. You can't just replace skilled workers,' Ms Baldoz told a news forum.

However, the 'Saudisation' policy would affect mainly unskilled workers like manual labourers, janitors, drivers and gardeners, she added.

Saudi Arabia said last week it would stop granting work permits to Philippine and Indonesian maids after failing to agree on hiring conditions imposed by the Asian countries. -- AFP

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