MANILA - The Philippine government is planning to conduct job fairs in Saudi Arabia and Qatar to entice skilled Filipino laborers in the Middle East to return home and work here instead, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said Tuesday.
The plan was brought up weeks after the Labor department banned Filipinos from working in Kuwait following reported deaths and abuse of Filipino domestic helpers.
"Ang suggestion ni (Finance) Sec. (Carlos) Domiguez, ay mag job fair kami sa Saudi at Qatar para maimbita natin sila doon na bumalik (sa Pilipinas) dahil ang daming nangangailangan ng skilled workers dito gaya ng karpintero, tubero, welders," Bello said in an interview on DZMM.
Real estate magnate and former senator Manny Villar is in need of 18,000 skilled workers while the Department of Education is looking to employ 2,000 teachers, Bello said.
"Medyo mas malaki (ang suweldo abroad) pero dapat isipin din natin ang social implications," he said.
(The salary abroad is a bit higher, but we should also consider social implications.)
Overseas Filipino workers in Saudi are shelling out more money after the Saudi government imposed a 5 percent value added tax on remittances and other services.
Qatar's tourism and real estate sectors, meantime, took a hit after its Gulf neighbors - Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt - banned air and land travel to and from Doha.
The government has yet to announce the dates and places for the proposed job fair in the Middle East.