Domestic workers or household service workers in Saudi Arabia are not covered by the removal of the “Kafala” or sponsorship system, an official of the Department of Labor and Employment said on Monday.

ofw - Domestic helpers not covered by removal of sponsorship in KSA
(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

DOLE – International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) Director Alice Visperas said this means 17 percent of Filipino workers who are household service workers in Saudi Arabia will not be covered by the initiative which will be implemented by March, 2021.

“Those not covered by the abolition of the kafala system are domestic workers, family drivers and other workers not working in a company,” she said in an online forum.

“It will only cover skilled workers…those working in companies,” added Visperas.

Asked why domestic workers are not covered, she said they are also waiting for the guidelines and explanation that Saudi Arabia is expected to release.

“We will wait for that so it will also be clear to us why HSWs were not included,” said Visperas.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said that the new move will allow foreign workers the right to change jobs by transferring their sponsorship from one employer to another, leave and re-enter the country and secure final exit visas without the consent of their employer.

Saudi Arabia is one of the Middle East countries with the biggest number of Filipino migrant workers. 

According to DFA, an estimated 865,121 Filipino migrant workers are deployed in the Kingdom as of December 2019. 

Meanwhile, Visperas also gave an update on the status of the female overseas Filipino worker who jumped off a building in Jeddah.

“Our labor attache there already talked to her and she is already recuperating in a hospital,” she said.

“According to her, she had a misunderstanding with the supervisor that’s why she jumped off the building,” added Visperas.

The labor official said the company promised to help with the medical needs of the OFW and get justice for her.

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