Overseas Filipino workers have banded together to protest against a proposed two-year ban on workers leaving Saudi Arabia with their final exit visas.
Migrant Middle East (MME) regional coordinator John Leonard Moterona told Arab News that some migrant workers who leave with their final exit visas “were only forced to exit due to labor disputes with their employers.”
Understanding the kingdom’s need to hire more Saudi nationals, Moterona nevertheless said that the Saudi and Philippine governments need to “openly discuss the implications” of the ban to their labor agreements and “to the deployment and demobilization of hired Filipino workers.”
He added in his appeal to the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) that the existing policy imposing a one-year ban on workers who refuse to renew their contracts “posed a stumbling block” to creating an “expat-friendly labor market.”
The Nation wrote that the two-year ban was proposed by a CSC labor market committee while reviewing the kingdom’s Saudization program.
It originated from a Cabinet resolution from 1975 and 1977, which imposed three-year bans on expats “who left the Kingdom in violation of their contracts.
Arab News quoted CSC chairman Mansoor Al-Shetri saying that the recommendations were based on a “similar successful measure taken by a neighboring Gulf country.”
Oman, a neighboring Arab state, currently has a two-year visa ban on migrant workers who leave their jobs due to labor disputes.
While no changes were made to the policy, those banned by it may return to Oman on a tourist, family joining, visitor, or investor visa.
(Source: BM, GMA News)