OFW Group Calls for Lifting of Total Deployment Ban to Kuwait
An overseas Filipino worker (OFW) group in Kuwait appealed to Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to lift total deployment ban to the Gulf state.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the OFW group said that a separate law protects skilled OFWs in the country. “We are covered by a separate law on workers to Kuwait and are not part of the memorandum of understanding [MOU] the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is negotiating with Kuwait labor officials,” the group said.
Recruitment consultant and migration expert Emmanuel Geslani said that the government should consider the appeals made by OFW groups. Since the imposition of the ban, processing of overseas employment certificate for all new hires for both skilled and HSW was stopped.
Recruitment agencies also fear that visas for skilled workers will expire, as well as their medical results, which are only valid for three months after the examination.
“Once the visas expire and the principal does not extend them the foreign jobs, these jobs will definitely be lost and workers will be jobless,” Geslani said.
On Wednesday, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced that Kuwaiti officials have “informally” agreed to the conditions stated in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) proposed by the Philippine government.
Bello said that they are only waiting for Kuwaiti labor officials to arrive to finalize the agreement between the two countries. Bello is set to sign and formalize the agreement in Kuwait this month.
The MOU aims to protect the welfare of Filipino migrant workers in Kuwait.
Bello III also said that the move does not necessarily equate to total lifting of deployment ban to Kuwait for first-time OFWs. He will, however, recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte lift the ban for skilled workers.
On February 9, the government announced the total deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait following the death of Joanna Demafelis whose body was found inside a freezer of an apartment in the Gulf state.
Since the imposition of the deployment ban, thousands of Filipino workers have been repatriated to the Philippines.