Filipino workers stranded without pay in Saudi Arabia can travel back to the Philippines “free of cost” under new measures, according to officials.
Several workers – especially those working in construction companies – have been stranded without pay in the kingdom during recent months. Some have also been struggling to get food, as per officials.
According to reports, anywhere between 9,000 to 20,000 Filipino workers could be currently affected in the country.
“Under the royal decree, the travel documents of those who want to go home will be processed,” local daily Arab News quoted the charge d’affaires at the Philippine embassy Iric C Arribas, as saying.
“They won’t have to pay anything. Their tickets will be free,” he said.
He added that assistance would also be provided to help those workers who wanted to stay back, by facilitating their transfer to other companies.
“In this connection, an online system has been set up so that OFWs who will stay could send their bio-data to local companies,” Arribas said.
His comments came following a meeting between Saudi Arabia’s minister of labour and social development Mufrej Al-Haqabani and Philippine labour secretary Silvestre Bello lll.
Al-Haqabani urged Filipino workers to continue working in the kingdom, the report said.
He said issues faced by companies such as Saudi Oger were “isolated cases”.
“The kingdom is still a good place for foreigners to work,” he added.
Around 1.8 million overseas workers from the Philippines are estimated to be based in Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this month, Philippines said it would send government missions to Saudi to help those stranded.
The immediate target is to bring aid to “those without food and in dire need of medical care and other support services,” it said.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has also allocated SAR 100m ($266.5m) and issued a series of directives with the intention of resolving all cases of unpaid salaries in the kingdom.