Health workers, factory staff still in demand overseas despite COVID-19 pandemic: official

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 18 2020 02:10 PM

Health workers, factory staff still in demand overseas despite COVID-19 pandemic: official 1
A health worker in a PPE cools herself in front of a fan at a testing center in Navotas City on Aug. 20, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Friday said health and factory personnel remain in demand overseas despite the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that some nations are preparing to resume hiring Filipino migrant workers.

Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar are starting to reopen their respective countries for overseas Filipino workers, POEA administrator Bernard Olalia said in an interview on state-run PTV.

"Pangunahing skills na in-demand ay health care workers," he said.

(The primary skills in demand are heath care workers.)

"Dumadami po ang bilang ng nangangailangan ng nurses abroad," he said

(There is an increase in demand for nurses abroad.)

Some countries - like South Korea and Taiwan - are also planning to hire more factory workers from the Philippines, he said.

"Napakarami pong bansa ang nangangailangan ng factory workers dahil kabilang ito sa sector na 'di apektado ng pandemya," he said.

(There are a lot of countries that need factory workers because this is among the sectors that were unaffected by the pandemic.)

The POEA will try to negotiate with the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 (IATF) if the 5,000-cap on Filipino health workers being deployed to other countries could be increased once the ceiling is reached, Olalia said.

"Tayo po ay magkakaroon ng recommendation sa IATF na baka puwedeng maging flexible yung 5,000 [cap]," he said.

(We will give a recommendation to the IATF that maybe the 5,000 cap on Filipino health workers deployed overseas can be flexible.)

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said some 300,000 OFWs have been repatriated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some 80,000 more Filipino migrant workers are expected to return to the Philippines in the first half of 2021, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration said in an earlier briefing.

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