Despite deployment ban since 2014, DOLE monitors 600K Pinoys working in UAE

Published March 6, 2021, 8:17 PM

by Betheena Unite

A total of 600,000 Filipinos were found to be working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) despite the deployment ban implemented by the Philippine government since 2014.

“Despite the fact that we are not deploying overseas workers, we have about 600,000 workers there. This is because of the illegal recruitment activities,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a televised briefing on Saturday, March 6.

Securing a tourist visa that will later be converted to a working visa was their way in, Bello explained.

“Filipinos enter the country using a tourist visa, find a job, and then convert it to a working visa,” said Bello.

Of the 600,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in UAE, 400,00 of them are in Dubai and 200,000 were monitored in Abu Dhabi, based on the data of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Bello said with the signing of an agreement allowing the deployment of household service workers in UAE, the UAE government will no longer allow the conversion of a tourist visa into a working visa without the approval of the labor attache in the place of deployment.

Now, how about the undocumented workers who have been in the foreign land?

Bello said they are also covered by the agreement: “They will now be covered by this standard employment contract and they can now regularize their stay in the United Arab Emirates.”