Saudi Arabia to resume issuing work visas for Pinoy domestic helpers in October
Following lengthy negotiations with Manila, Saudi Arabia may resume issuing working visas to Filipino domestic helpers in October, a Gulf News report said late Wednesday.
Gulf News quoted the Saudi Press Agency as saying the accord amends the employment contracts, required documents and attestations, and endorsement procedures.
Prince Khalid Bin Saud Bin Khalid was quoted in the report as saying the Saudi embassy in Manila and the technical committees from both countries reached a bilateral agreement on the issue.
Around 1.2 million Filipinos work in Saudi Arabia, which is home to 19 million Saudi nationals and eight million foreigners.
According to the report, the accord will not clash with the Kingdom's laws, and will not affect the rights and privacy of Saudi citizens.
Prince Khalid added the foreign and labor ministries are working to ease the recruitment visa procedures while preserving the rights of the Saudi employer and the expatriate employee.
In Manila, Saudi Ambassador to the Philippines Abdullah Al Hassan said all Filipinos who wish to be employed as domestic workers can secure a working visa “in a month’s time."
“There is no problem concerning the resumption of the opening of working visa for household workers,” he said.
He added he was able to meet recently with Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
"We were able to resolve all issues relevant to the resumption of working visa for household workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Al Hassan said.
Riyadh suspended in June 2011 the processing of employment contracts of Filipinos following a disagreement with Manila over wages.
The Philippines wanted a $400 (Dh1,468) monthly salary, but Saudi Arabia thought the request was too high and reportedly suggested a $200 monthly in minimum pay.
Officials from the two countries have worked on a compromise for almost a year.
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay welcomed the breakthrough.
“Definitely, this will be good news for all of our overseas Filipino workers,” Binay said.
Meanwhile, the Saudi ambassador said an arrangement would be made before Riyadh could resume issuing visas.
“Both sides have to make arrangements for the resumption of issuing working visas for household workers, and we expect that it will not take a longer time than a month’s time,” he said. — ELR, GMA News
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