Cairo: The number of Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia has more than doubled during 2023 compared to last year, a Saudi news portal has reported.
Around 380,000 Filipinos are estimated working in Saudi Arabia against 143,000 last year, Sabq said, citing figures from the Philippines’ Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
There are around 1.8 million Filipino workers in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council of which Saudi Arabia is a member, according to DMW, the executive department of the Philippine government tasked to protect rights of overseas Filipino workers.
A total of 725,000 Filipinos are living in Saudi Arabia, according to recent Saudi statistics.
Relations between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines have recently grown.
Last October, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. of the Philippines on the sidelines of a GCC-ASEAN summit in Riyadh.
On the same occasion, Saudi and Philippine officials in the private sector of both countries signed a memorandum of understanding aimed to provide “professional” manpower from the Philippines to meet the needs of the labour market in the kingdom through partnerships with specialised international firms.
The deal was sealed between human resources sectors in the two countries at a Saudi-Philippine roundtable meeting in Riyadh.
In November 2022, Saudi Arabia announced resuming recruitment of Filipino domestic workers after a months-long halt. This recruitment was suspended in Saudi Arabia in late 2021.
The Philippine embassy was quoted at the time as saying the suspension was due to new regulations issued by the Philippine Ministry of Labour governing the contractual relationship between Filipino house workers and their foreign employers.
Saudi labour authorities have recently sought to regulate the domestic labour market. To this end, the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources launched the Musaned domestic labour programme to help customers learn about their rights and duties, and related services including visa issuance, recruitment requests and contractual relation between the employer and the worker.
The ministry has said it is necessary to conduct contracting via the Musaned, being the official recruitment platform.