DOLE: Only certified maids can work in Saudi Arabia

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 29 2012 08:24 AM | Updated as of Sep 30 2012 12:54 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Domestic helpers will soon be required to undergo skills training and secure a certification before they can work in Saudi Arabia.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalina Baldoz said she has already directed the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to come out with a program to ensure comprehensive training, assessment and certification of household service workers (HSW) wishing to work in that Middle East country.

“We should already take advantage of this new agreement to enforce a stronger regulatory regime for the deployment of HSWs and ensure that abuse and exploitation of our HSWs are stopped; and that uncaring recruiters, opportunistic middlemen, and abusive employers who do not treat our HSWs with respect and dignity as human beings and as workers are penalized and banned from ever participating in overseas employment,” she said.

Baldoz said the government plans to impose stricter regulation in the deployment of HSWs to ensure that only those with required competencies and certification would be allowed to process their contracts.

Baldoz said the forging of a new standard employment contract would pave the way for the resumption of the deployment of HSWs.

With the new agreement, including the adoption of new standard employment contract with Saudi Arabia, all those working in that country as HSWs shall be amply protected, she added.

Baldoz has already ordered a massive information campaign on the major provisions of the new HSW standard employment contract to foster adequate knowledge and awareness on the dos and dont’s, pros and cons, and the risks and rewards of living and working as an HSW in Saudi Arabia.

“I also asked OWWA and the NRCO to vigorously promote the national reintegration program, including its livelihood components, such as the Balik-Pinay, Balik Hanapbuhay Program, to provide our people a clear and better option to stay and not work abroad as a HSW,” she said.

The POEA must further tighten the screws on erring employers, as well as local and foreign recruitment agencies, Baldoz said.