Returning Filipino workers or Balik Manggagawa (BM) workers are now allowed to go back to Iraq, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Thursday.
In a Laging Handa briefing, POEA chief Bernard Olalia said this came after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) downgraded Iraq from Alert Level 4 to 3.
“This is a very good development, the lowering of the alert level in Iraq, the POEA issued a resolution to announce to fellow Filipinos that the returning workers can come back to Iraq,” Olalia said.
“They are the ones with existing and live employment contracts and they are going to the Philippines for vacation or maybe they are here and will return to their employers there,” he added.
Olalia reported that most of the OFWs hired in Iraq are skilled and professional workers.
“They work in international organizations, in entities that have jobs offered there such as engineers, consultants and various other skilled and key professionals,” he said.
Returning workers are required to primarily present their existing contracts, among others.
“They need to prove that they have an existing contract. They also need to present their respective employer’s certification or plan on how to help them in case there will be a problem. So, those are just some of the documents that need to be presented so that they can avail of their return there,” Olalia added.
On the other hand, the POEA chief added that Filipinos in Iraq have also the chance to go back to the Philippines for a vacation to be with their families, especially for the holiday season.
“Those in Iraq can go on vacation in the Philippines this December because it’s Christmas season and because it’s time for us to give our longtime compatriots abroad in Iraq a chance to go home and be with their loved ones,” he said.
Early this month, the DFA has lowered the alert level for the whole of Iraq from Alert Level 4 (mandatory repatriation) to Alert Level 3 (voluntary repatriation) due to some improvements in the security situation in the country. (PNA)