MANILA, Philippines – The Middle East is still a viable market for overseas Filipino workers looking for jobs in the construction, tourism and medical sectors.
“Because of the worldwide economic situation, economic crisis still in many parts of the world, doon pa din tayo sa Middle Eastern market,” said Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
Cacdac told dzMM that 60 percent to 70 percent of the job orders and the deployment are in the construction sector which mainly focuses on the skilled-type of worker.
“Hindi yung laborers. Dyan pumasok yung foreman, wireman, mga welders, engineers, because nga of this still ongoing construction boom, especially in the key cities of the Middle East like Dubai, Doha,” Cacdac said.
He explained that lower-skilled type construction workers have a hard time adjusting to the climate in their host countries.
“Kasi umaakyat ng 50 degrees to 60 degrees yung init. Di sanay. Yan ay simple basic fact. Pinaalalahanan nga ni Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz sa amin na siguraduhin na alam ng mamamayan yan. Maraming sumusuko,” said Cacdac.
Cacdac also said that medical services are still in demand in the Middle East.
“And then sa medical services, yung mga nurses natin na given yung employment situation, it’s still the Middle East because hindi mapili in terms of work experience,” he said.
He said employers would usually require those applying for the medical services to at least have a few years of experience and must pass through a licensed agency.
The hotel and restaurant sector also offers opportunities to potential overseas workers.
“Mga roomboy, front desk, receptionist. Halimbawa sa Doha, sa Dubai halos lahat Pilipino. Lalo na sa continuing projection ng mga open economies sa Middle East na sila ang bagong tourism destination,” he said.
The POEA chief likewise said that there is a continuing demand for seafarers especially in cruise ships and oil rigs.
“Yung mga oil rigs and platforms usually related to construction, engineering, technical skills pa din. Bottomline dito kailangang malaman ng mamamayan na kailangang may skills sila. May common notion na kahit sino pwedeng mag abroad, dapat may skills, dapat may kakayahan,” said Cacdac.
While Saudi Arabia remains the top destination country for OFWs, Cacdac said the number two spot which Hong Kong used to hold is now the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“Ang dumadami ay yung UAE. Nalagpasan na niya ang Hong Kong. Saudi and Hong Kong usually 1 and 2. Ngayon number 2 na UAE,” said Cacdac.
Also, Cacdac shared that they are seeing an increase in the number of Filipino domestic workers in Singapore and Malaysia.
“Ngayon, nagre-register ng 40%-50 % increases ang Malaysia. Pero di yun good news kasi binabantayan din natin kasi sa Malaysia marami din complaints about mga employers who hold on to passports and cellphones and yung $400 minimum salary is still something that needs to be complied with,” he said.
But Cacdac was quick to add that potential workers must first verify the authenticity of job orders as well as the agency through the POEA to prevent them from falling prey to illegal recruiters.
The POEA hotline numbers are 7221144 or 7221155. He said they can also visit their website at poea.gov.ph.