Press Release
July 6, 2011

Villar urges gov't to prepare for Saudization

Sen. Manny Villar today urged government to prepare for the effects of the Saudization program, including a plan of action to assist workers who may be displaced as companies in Saudi Arabia prioritize hiring of their nationals.

"There is a need to adopt a comprehensive and responsive legislation and plan of action that can support and assist migrant workers who may be displaced," Villar said.

The Nitaqat system took effect last month to fully implement the Saudization program, which refers to the national policy of Saudi Arabia to encourage employment of Saudi nationals in the private sector and reduce unemployment which currently stands at 10.5 percent.

"While the new system does not cover household service workers, the fact that about 90,000 OFWs working in small establishments could be affected, is a cause for concern. Workers may be displaced as companies only have until September to comply with the policy," he said.

Under the policy, the Saudi Ministry of Labor has ordered all retail shops to hire Saudi women instead of foreigners.

Villar also filed Proposed Senate Resolution 521 urging the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development to assess the impact of the new 'Nitaqat' system enforced by the Saudi Arabian government.

"A true assessment of the impact of Saudization on our kababayan in Saudi will guide us craft a plan of action that will adequately assist workers and their families affected by this policy," the founder of Sagip OFW added.

Villar noted that with a total of 1.2 million, Filipinos are the fourth largest segment of workers in Saudi, following Pakistanis, Indians and Egyptians, each numbering to 1.8 million, 1.5 million, and 1.3 million respectively.

Migrante Middle East said around 350,000 Filipino workers in Saudi will be affected once the Nitaqat scheme has been fully implemented.

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