With the dwindling remittance rates of OFWs in the Middle East, Leyte Representative Henry Ong appealed for a policy change in Congress regarding the deployment of OFWs, as shared in a report by RMN News.
(ALSO READ: By the Numbers: OFW Deployment Dips by 9%)
Ong cited the recent data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), showing a 15.3% or PHP 601.8 million drop in OFW remittances from January to July of this year.
Leyte Rep Appeals for Policy Change on OFW Deployment
The drop in remittances was most noted in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Israel — which used to be consistent sources of higher remittances from the OFW sector in the past. Due to this situation, Rep. Ong expressed that the OFW market in the Middle East may have reached its “saturation point.”
(ALSO READ: DOLE Irons Out Labour Pact for OFWs in Israel)
Based on this observation, the Leyte representative recommended to shift government attention and priority to other countries that have more demands for services offered by our country’s OFW sector. The said move will help redirect OFWs to gain high-paying jobs, and at the same time help the country recover from the dip in remittances during the early part of this year.
And as lawmakers look to find alternate OFW destinations, the dip in the OFW deployment rate is more than just internal policy matters. According to Recruitment and Migration analyst Emmanuel Geslani, numerous major projects have been shelved in Saudi Arabia which resulted in the deployment delay and exit of more than 30,000 OFWs in the construction, maintenance-service, and oil industries.
Furthermore, the HSW sector also shrank by 8 percent in 2017 with only 231,251 from 275,073 in 2016 due to internal restrictions implemented by the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in the Middle East.
And while the trend in the HSW sector will not drastically improve in 2018, Geslani explained that it is unlikely to exceed the 200,000 mark as an effect of the deployment ban placed on Kuwait earlier this year, which resulted in the loss of around 40,000 jobs.
However, things may start to look rosy again for the OFW sector, with Japan’s market opening for more technical trainees and caregivers, set to take place early next year.
Furthermore, Geslani cited that the European market looks promising, with countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, and the United Kingdom looking to hire more foreign workers, especially in the field of nursing and health care.