DMW: We want new deployment opportunities for OFWs

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) is currently in the process of signing memoranda of cooperation with several countries  that are desirous to hire more Filipino healthcare and skilled workers.

DMW Undersecretary for Policy and International Cooperation PY Caunan told media reporters Friday that among the countries that have expressed interest in hiring Filipino workers are Hungary, Austria and Portugal in Europe, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

During the last visit of DMW Secretary Susan Ople in Riyadh, Caunan said, Saudi Arabia had expressed its intent to open about 1 million new jobs for Filipinos.

Caunan said the jobs include placements in the tourism sector like hotels, restaurants and resorts, aside from the usual jobs in construction. Among others.  

She said DMW will place these job openings in a special hiring program they will launch shortly, to help “ensure that people have more flexibility when it comes to employment in the KSA.”

As part of the preparation for the launch, Caunan said DMW is set to hold meetings with the Technical Education and Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) while a sub-committee will also be created with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

The sub-committee, she said will assure that enhanced and country-specific pre-departure orientation seminars (PDOS) would be in place to better prepare OFWs who seek work outside the country. The KSA  Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, DMW’s counterpart agency in Saudi, has given the DMW its all-out support, she added.

Caunan said DMW has also scheduled a joint committee meeting with its counterpart in the UAE. “Expect in the coming weeks that we will be calling a series of meetings and dialogues with various stakeholders including our OFWs to get all their concerns, as well as those from the private recruitment agencies,” she said.

The UAE, she added, is now looking for more skilled workers, which is why the DMW looks forward to having a stronger alliance and cooperation with the UAE, especially in the country’s fight against human trafficking, illegal recruitment and third-country recruitment.

Caunan said a joint committee meeting between the Philippines and Qatar is also expected in September, even as they also look forward to having stronger ties with Oman which has also communicated that they are in demand for workers.

Aside from the Middle East, some countries in Europe have also been very active in promoting job opportunities. “We will shortly sign too with Austria a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC), and with other countries in Europe including Portugal and others,” Caunan said.

She said that Austria has already reiterated its desire to forge a MOC for healthcare workers.

“We are looking forward to signing a bilateral labor agreement for general cooperation with Austria for healthcare and skilled workers,” she added.

Austria, she said, has agreed to help ease their prescribed professional qualifications and the entry process for Filipino workers. Aside from high salaries that may range from 2,500 to 2,800 Euros, Caunan said  other benefits await successful applicants including a 14th-month pay, reunification with family members for full-pledge nurses, and a clear pathway to obtain a permanent residency and eventually Austrian citizenship.

Caunan said Austria has told them they would need about 200,000 workers in various industry sectors.