Russia and China are just some of the encouraging destinations for Filipinos looking for jobs abroad as the Philippines looks to cut its reliance on the Middle East.
“Russia is opening their market for the first time to the Philippines,” head of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Bernard Olalia, mentioned in an interview in his office in Manila.
He also said, “They want a government-to-government deployment scheme, just like what we did with China.”
Russia is recruiting talented workers in development and services and China is asking the Philippines to send about 2,000 English teachers this year, Olalia stated on April 20.
The Czech Republic and San Marino are also arranging labour contracts, he stated.
For decades, the Philippines has depended on money sent home by millions of overseas workers to increase the economy and support the currency.
The funds – calculated by the World Bank to be $33 billion previous year – account for around 10 percent of gross domestic product and are the nation’s biggest source of foreign exchange after exports.
With exports faltering and stocks suffering outflows, officials are banking on remittances to assist stabilise the peso, Asia’s worst-performing currency this year. The peso has lost more than 4 percent against the dollar in 2018.
The Middle East stays the greatest destination for land-based workers with more than 1 million deployed in 2016, counting for 63 percent of the total. But the brutal killing of a domestic worker, whose body was observed stuffed in a freezer in Kuwait, pushed President Rodrigo Duterte to order a deployment ban to the Arab state since February.
The Philippines is flexing its muscle to protect workers in other Middle Eastern countries amid cases of employer abuse, Olalia stated.
Olalia mentioned, “We don’t mind advising the President to impose a deployment ban in countries where our Filipino workers are suffering so much, like Kuwait.”
The outlook for labour demand is strong and deployment will keep expanding, Olalia stated.
Aging populations are prompting Japan and South Korea to place more job orders for Filipino health workers, while Singapore is looking to hire in its technology sector.
According to Olalia, the administration’s policy now is to focus on skilled workers and professionals, whose working conditions are significantly better.
The government is also providing workers a way home. Duterte’s $180 billion infrastructure program focuses to create 2 million jobs a year, basically in construction.
Officials are planning “reverse job fairs” in the Middle East to lure Filipino carpenters, welders and pipe-fitters back to the Philippines, Olalia stated.
Even so, the agency agrees it would be difficult to match the salaries abroad, which can typically go as much as 300 percent greater than domestic wages.
Olalia mentioned, “Compensation abroad is really higher than in the Philippines. But if you consider the social factor, the separation from family – that’s more important than financial gain.”
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