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Saudis hint at new bilateral labor agreement with Philippines

Ambassador says it would be the first of its kind for the Kingdom

Saudis hint at new bilateral labor agreement with Philippines
Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia (file photo) reporter, Manila

May 6, 2013

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Monday expressed hope that the final text of a proposed bilateral labor agreement with the Philippines will be signed next week during the visit to Riyadh of Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

Abdullah Al-Hassan, Saudi ambassador to the Philippines, said the labor agreement would be the first to be signed with a country that regularly sends foreign workers. 

He said it would cover "broad provisions" to regulate the process of sending Filipino workers to the Middle Eastern country.

Despite the recent crackdown of undocumented foreign workers in Saudi Arabia affecting some 20,000 Filipinos, Al-Hassan said the proposed agreement manifests the kingdom's intention to continue hiring more Filipino workers.

"We continue to strengthen bilateral ties with the Philippines by exerting efforts to widen economic, political and particularly labor relations to ensure consistent flow of Filipino workers to Saudi Arabia by legal means," the ambassador said.

He said Saudi Arabia still needs millions of foreign workers for its infrastructure development.

Some 1.2 million Filipino workers are employed in Saudi Arabia. In 2011, the Kingdom, however, stopped processing visa applications for Filipino domestic workers following the enforcement of the Philippine migrant workers law that requires a minimum monthly salary of US$400.

Saudi employers found the minimum salary ceiling too high, saying it should only be $200.

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