For the longest time, OFWs have set their sights on working overseas, particularly in countries in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, where generation after generation of Filipinos have already made a living from.
Considering this prominent culture of overseas work among Filipinos, changes that have come along with time, such as the Saudi nationalization scheme (also known as Saudization) and new residency requirements, among others, have traditionally been frowned upon by this population. This just goes to show that anything that challenges the system of gaining employment (albeit for better or worse), generally does not fare well among foreign nationals who are seeking to continue the culture and tradition of overseas work in the Middle East.
Saudi Imposes New Guidelines for Recruitment of Domestic Workers
However, the Kingdom has recently approved a new system of recruitment for domestic workers involving a program for online documentation of labour contracts by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development, which caused unease among a number of recruitment companies, especially with regard to punitive measures, as shared in a report by ZAWYA.
Under the new program, new contracts will be documented electronically through the Musaned Online Service. This step will be mandatory for all companies and establishments that want to recruit foreign domestic workers. Contracts for the recruitment of domestic workers done outside the new program will be considered as invalid and may be deemed illegal.
Furthermore, the ministry is expected to impose a 30 percent fine on recruitment agencies that will not comply with the condition that domestic workers must arrive within 90 days after the contract is signed. It is also mandatory for offices and companies to accommodate domestic workers they have recruited within the contract period.
In line with this, various recruitment establishments across the Kingdom are in the process of setting up an accommodations company with a capital of SAR 20 million. However, this offshoot project is still under study by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development for approval.
Apparently, in line with this development, a number of recruitment offices have expressed their objection to the decision, with a lot of them submitting a letter for reconsideration to the ministry ahead of its implementation.
This change in the system aims to ease the process of recruitment and to ensure that the needs of domestic workers are properly take care of, from the contract up to their accommodation in the country.