Only Filipino migrant workers who have existing employment contracts will be allowed to return to Iraq following the downgrade of the alert level there due to the improvements in the foreign land’s security situation.
“Hindi pa po pinapayagan ang mga new hires o ‘yong mga bagong OFWs [overseas Filipino workers]. Ang papayagan lamang po ay ‘yong mga returning OFWs or ‘yong may mga existing and live employment contracts (New hires or new OFWs are still prohibited to be deployed. Only returning OFWs or those with existing and live employment contracts will be allowed),” Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Bernard Olalia said on Thursday, Nov. 11.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier announced that Iraq’s alert level was downgraded from Alert Level 4, which orders mandatory repatriation for Filipino nationals there, to Alert Level 3 which entails only voluntary repatriation.
Under Alert Level 3, Olalia said returning OFWs can now be deployed to Iraq while migrant workers there can go home to the Philippines for vacation.
In a virtual public media briefing, the POEA chief bared that there remains a large number of returning OFWs waiting to be deployed back to Iraq which are mostly skilled and professional workers.
“Malaking bilang po ito at karamihan ay mga skilled at professional workers katulad ng mga engineers, consultants, at iba iba pang mga high-skilled professional workers (Most of our OFWs in Iraq are skilled and professional workers such as engineers, consultants, and other high-skilled professional workers),” he said.
According to Olalia, OFWs would need to submit the necessary documents to the POEA office or to the Philippine Overseas Labor and Office (POLO) in Iraq for their deployment or repatriation.
Among the primary requirements include proof of their existing employment contract, Olalia said.
“Kailangan din na mayroong plano ang kanilang employer kung paano sila tutulungan in case na magkaroon sila ng problems (Their employer also needs to have a plan on how to help them in case problems arise),” he added.
The DFA earlier said the eased alert level was imolemented “due to some improvements in the security situation in the country and as requested by the overseas Filipino workers in Iraq.”