Filipino migrant workers in Saudi Arabia who get terminated from their jobs without a valid cause should get in touch with the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday.
In a statement amid “persistent" reports on the termination of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia, the DFA said OFWs may ask for the embassy’s assistance through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) that is closest to their place of work.
Located in Riyadh, Jeddah, and al-Khobar, POLO offices will assist affected OFWs, the DFA said.
The agency also advised OFWs in the Kingdom to regularly visit the Philippine Embassy website for updates on the Nitaqat or “Saudization" system, which prioritizes the employment of Saudi nationals over foreign workers in Saudi-owned firms.
The Saudi government is scheduled to begin implementing the Nitaqat system next Sept. 11, and companies that fail to comply with the Saudization targets will get a grace period of six to nine months.
“It is noted that the Nitaqat system honors existing work contracts. The sanction for non-complying companies will be the non-renewal of work permits of foreign workers, and not their illegal termination," the DFA said.
Last week, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) administrator Carlos Cao said Saudization is making no impact yet on the deployment of OFWs to Saudi.
Earlier, a recruitment expert projected a downsizing of jobs for Filipinos in Saudi due to the new labor policy. — With Paterno Esmaquel II/VS, GMA News