POEA urged not to allow 'illiterate' maids to work in Saudi

Posted at 10/15/2012 10:14 AM | Updated as of 10/15/2012 10:14 AM

MANILA, Philippines – An organization of overseas employment service providers (OESPs) is urging the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to disallow the deployment of “illiterate” household service workers (HSWs) to Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, the Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc. (PASEI) said they have asked POEA “to expressly disallow the deployment of ‘No Read-No Write’ HSWs.”

PASEI has also called the attention of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to the issue.

In a letter addressed to POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, PASEI President Victor E.R. Fernandez Jr. said that their proposal is in line with the guidelines issued by the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Manila regarding the procedural requirements for visas that are to be followed by accredited recruitment agencies.

“The prevailing rules and regulations in the Kingdom do not allow anyone who cannot read and write to enter the Kingdom to work,” according to Item 13 of the Guidelines issued by the Embassy.

PASEI is hoping that their proposal will be considered when POEA drafts the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) that will govern the recruitment and deployment of HSWs to Saudi Arabia.

“We believe... that aligning our recruitment rules and regulations with this clear and publicly announced policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be beneficial to our HSWs and protective of HSWs we will allow deployment,” Fernandez said in his letter.

Saudi Arabia had lifted a deployment ban against Filipino HSWs late September 2012 after agreeing to the Philippines’ demands of minimum monthly wage of US$400 and more protection for the Filipino maids.

PASEI is also encouraging POEA to require employers to “cover their HSWs with high-grade medical insurance... which premium cost more than SR1,500.00 per year or so in order to ensure there are in-patient benefits.”

Also, PASEI is urging the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to consider the OWWA Membership Automatic Renewal Loan (OMAR-Loan) plan. This will give HSWs an automatic loan of $25.00 to renew their OWWA membership even if they are unable to return to the Philippines.

PASEI is composed of over 650 recruitment agencies that are licensed by DOLE and authorized by POEA to recruit and deploy Filipino workers abroad.