Deployment elsewhere offsets drop in Saudi hiring

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APPLICANTS for overseas jobs at the POEA.

The party-list group ACTS-OFW has allayed fears of a nosedive in the deployment of Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia amid the kingdom’s policy of hiring its nationals.

“While Saudi Arabia’s labor market is shrinking, the demand for Filipino workers in other parts of the globe – in Asia, North America and Europe – continues to expand,” said ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III.

“Based on preliminary figures, we expect the total number of land-based Filipino workers deployed all over the world this year to reach 1.9 million,” Bertiz said.

“Of the 1.9 million, some 21 percent or 400,000 are new hires, while around 79 percent or 1.5 million are rehires,” Bertiz said.

The Department of Labor and Employment earlier warned of a 30-percent plunge in the number of Filipino workers setting out to the world’s largest oil producer this year, mainly due to the kingdom’s Saudization policy.

“Saudization simply means that certain job openings in Saudi Arabia previously available to foreigners, including Filipinos, may no longer be there because these are now being reserved for (Saudi) nationals,” Bertiz said.

Due to the deployment slowdown, the money wired home by Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia sank 12.3 percent to $1.662 billion in the first nine months this year from $1.894 billion in the same period in 2017, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Bertiz, however, said the decline in cash remittances from Saudi Arabia is being offset by money coming from Filipino workers elsewhere.

He said cash transfers from Filipino workers in Singapore rose 5.8 percent to $1.386 billion in the first nine months this year from $1.311 billion in the same period in 2017.

Remittances from Filipino workers in Japan also climbed 4.4 percent to $1.131 billion in the first nine months this year from $1.084 billion in the same period in 2017, Bertiz said.

He said the other large sources of fund transfers from migrant Filipino workers that posted strong year-on-year growth from January to September were: The United Kingdom, $1.1 billion, up 9.9 percent from $1.0 billion; Canada, $711.27 million, up 48.7 percent from $478.31 million; Germany, $645.14 million, up 15.2 percent from $560.03 million; Hong Kong, $612.61 million, up 10.5 percent from $554.33 million; Taiwan, $420.59 million, up 46.4 percent from $287.23 million; Malaysia, $341.68 million, up 51.2 percent from $226.04 million; South Korea, $247.84 million, up 21.9 percent from $203.24 million; The Netherlands, $226.56 million, up 57.1 percent from $144.19 million; New Zealand, $184.94 million, up 105 percent from $90.23 million; and Norway, $123.40 million, up 23.3 percent from $100.07 million.

All told, BSP data show that the cash wired home by overseas Filipinos amounted to $21.3 billion in the first nine months this year, up 2.5 percent from $20.7 billion in the same period in 2017.

p: wjg

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