MORE than 20,000 Filipino workers who were affected by the deployment ban in Kuwait in February are now ready to leave for that country, a recruitment consultant said Monday.
The workers were allowed to travel to Kuwait after the Philippines and the Gulf nation brought their ties back to normal with the signing of a memorandum providing legal protection to the Filipino workers in Kuwait.
Recruitment and migration expert Emmanuel Geslani said more than 5,000 skilled Filipino workers alone were not able to leave in February after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Kuwait following the discovery of the body of Joana Demafelis inside a freezer in Kuwait.
Another 15,000 Filipino workers whose contracts were renewed were not able to return to Kuwait due to the deployment ban, Geslani said.
Affected by the deployment ban were thousands of nurses and other health care workers, salesladies, factory and construction workers.
Geslani is optimistic the agreement will re-energize the recruitment sector, especially the agencies that deploy mostly household workers.
The agreement would also help local recruitment agencies in monitoring their workers since the provision included allowing housemaids to keep their cellphones, he said.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the implementation of the agreement would ensure the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare Filipino workers in Kuwait.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said there are more 180,000 Filipinos in Kuwait, and of whom 60 percent were employed as domestic workers.
In 2014, the Filipinos in Kuwait remitted $150 million to the Philippines.