New abuses halt deployment of new HSWs to Saudi

The country has temporarily suspended the verification of new household service workers (HSWs) bound for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the wake of the abuses committed by a retired general against Filipinos.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said in a Facebook post on Saturday that it will abide by the order of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III for Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) in KSA to temporarily stop processing documents of newly hired HSWs until new guidelines are issued.

The memorandum was addressed to Labor Attaches Fidel Macauyag, POLO- Riyadh; Hector Cruz Jr., POLO-Al Khobar; and Roel Martin, POLO-Jeddah.

“In the interest of the service, you are hereby instructed to temporarily suspend the verification of new hires domestic workers effective immediately pending the issuance of the new guidelines by the POEA,” the directive issued on November 25 said. “As such, a new order shall be issued for the resumption of the processing of documents once the new guidelines have been finalized and fully implemented.”

POEA and POLO will issue the verification rules.

The memorandum does not cover HSWs with renewed contracts and the hiring of skilled workers.

“POEA and POLO need to come out with a new set of verification guidelines to prevent the abuse committed by Gen. Ayed (Thawah Al Jealid) in KSA. Gen. Ayed was able to circumvent POLO and POEA rules on verification by placing in the employment contract a pseudo KSA employer when in fact he was the real employer,” Bello said in a statement on Saturday.

Some of the general’s Filipino helpers were even detained.

To avoid a similar situation where the HSW will be assigned to an employer who is blacklisted, the new verification guidelines will require that the exact address of the employer’s house in KSA will be stated in the employment contract.

“Under the new verification guidelines, it’s not only the employer who is blacklisted but also the address of the employer,” Bello added. (PNA)

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