Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said the government will assist some 815 overseas workers whose travel to Kuwait has been deferred due to the suspension of visa issuances for newly-hired Filipino workers.
She said the DMW is preparing a financial aid package of P30,000 per OEC-holder (Overseas Employment Certificate) who has already spent money in applying for work in Kuwait.
“We have agreed on a financial package and job-matching efforts for those whose dreams of working in Kuwait have been put on hold, temporarily, as both countries find the best way forward in addressing current concerns,” Ople said.
This developed as the chairperson of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Pangasinan Rep. Rachel Arenas, on Saturday called for a complete deployment ban of all OFWs to Kuwait.
“This total deployment ban must be enforced until the Kuwaiti government sits down with our officials and agrees to our demands. Until then, we should not entertain their demands and acts of intimidation,” she said.
She said the Kuwaiti government’s decision to suspend the issuance of new entry visas for Filipinos is a way to “pressure” the Philippine government to lift its deployment ban on first-time household Filipino workers to the Gulf state.
“It is an act of retribution that severely escalates tensions between our two countries,” Arenas said.
Pending the lifting of the ban, the DMW created a dedicated email to respond to queries and concerns related to job opportunities in Kuwait and the assistance being offered to affected workers.
“If you have concerns related to employment in Kuwait, please write to [email protected],” Ople said.
At least 515 of the 815 directly affected OFWs belong to the domestic workers’ category while the rest are mostly in the service sector, to be employed as waiters and waitresses, mall vendors, sales associates with a few to be working in Kuwait as nurses.
Data from the DMW showed that there are around 270,000 OFWs in Kuwait. Out of that number, 196,000 continue to work in various households as domestic workers.