PH labor officials in Saudi suspend dozens of erring recruitment firms

Published May 30, 2021, 2:48 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Who says Philippine labor officials in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) haven’t been doing anything against erring recruitment agencies and abusive employers?

Masjid Nabawi, Medina, KSA (Photo by Adli Wahid / Unsplash)

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported Sunday, May 30 that a total of 39 “delinquent” recruitment agencies and 18 companies have been suspended by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh, KSA in just a month’s time.

Over 40 employers were also blacklisted.

“This is part of our campaign to cleanse the recruitment agencies,” Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag said in a statement.

“We have over 600 Saudi recruitment agencies, but maybe we can compress this number to 100 or even less in the coming months. We do not need many recruitment agencies, we just need a few good ones, which can be our partners,” Macauyag said, adding that the suspensions are a way to lessen welfare cases among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the oil-rich nation.

The Labor Attaché also bared that the POLO has created a team of male welfare officers and support staff called Team Camel, which is deployed to help save distressed OFWs.

To ensure that companies are legitimate and are adhering to standards, POLO Riyadh is strictly implementing the onsite verification of companies, as required by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Labor Attaché in Riyadh Fidel Macauyag (Screengrab from Zoom meeting)

“We tell owners of recruitment agencies that they should have a welfare officer who has the skill and the compassion to take care of our OFWs, especially the distressed ones. Agencies are…jointly liable with employers. That is why if anything bad happens to our OFWs, this is part of their responsibility,” stressed Macauyag.

“I keep on telling recruitment agencies that I am putting a bridge with you so that we can discuss battles that affect the industry. However, if you have unfavorable practices towards our workers, it is about time you stop it,” Macauyag warned Saudi recruitment agencies.

POEA Administrator Bernard Olalia said last April that KSA continues to be the biggest market for OFWs.