To mitigate incidences of welfare cases among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is purging delinquent recruitment agencies and strengthening onsite verification of employers.
Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag said that in a month, 39 errant Saudi recruitment agencies and 18 companies were suspended by the POLO in Riyadh while over 40 employers were already blacklisted.
“This is part of our campaign to cleanse the recruitment agencies. We have over 600 Saudi recruitment agencies, but maybe we can compress this number to 100 or even less in the coming months. We do not need many recruitment agencies, we just need a few good ones, which can be our partners,” said Macauyag.
This is the only way to lessen welfare cases among our OFWs, he added.
The Labor Attaché also said that the POLO has created a team of male welfare officers and support staff called Team Camel, which is deployed to help save distressed OFWs.
To ensure that companies are legitimate and are adhering to standards, POLO Riyadh is strictly implementing the onsite verification of companies, as required by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.
Just last week, Macauyag was in Alkhobar to personally check the standard of accommodation of Saudi Recruitment Agencies in the Eastern Region before they grant job orders and accredit their Philippine Recruitment Agencies.
Onsite, the POLO team also lectures recruitment agencies.
“We tell owners of recruitment agencies that they should have a welfare officer who has the skill and the compassion to take care of our OFWs, especially the distressed ones. Agencies are solidary and jointly liable with employers. That is why if anything bad happens to our OFWs, this is part of their responsibility,” said Macauyag.
He added that POLO Riyadh takes all these steps seriously as a preventive measure.
“I keep on telling recruitment agencies that I am putting a bridge with you so that we can discuss battles that affect the industry. However, if you have unfavorable practices towards our workers, it is about time you stop it,” Macauyag warned Saudi recruitment agencies.