KSA and PH agree to reduce process cycle time, automate procedures on recruitment of Filipinos for Saudi

Date Posted: February 25th, 2014 07:33 AM
 

 

At the 2nd Joint Committee Meeting KSA and PH agree to reduce process cycle time, automate procedures on recruitment of Filipinos for Saudi Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday welcomed the report of Undersecretary Danilo Cruz saying the Philippines and Saudi Arabia have arrived at a number of agreements during the 2nd Joint Committee Meeting under the Agreement on Domestic Worker Recruitment, held in Riyadh last week. The first Joint Committee Meeting was held in Manila last year. "I am happy to note the report of Usec. Cruz which underlined the strength of the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on matters involving OFWs. I welcome the salient points of their discussions during the 2nd Joint Committee Meeting, particularly the agreement to further reduce the process cycle time (PC) in OFW documentation and the agreement to further enhance the existing 24-Hour Assistance Center established by the Saudi government to receive household service workers' complaints," said Baldoz. Undersecretary Cruz reported that during the meeting, the Philippines informed the Saudi government that the Philippines's Department of Health is intent on reducing its PCT to complete medical examination results from five (5) to only three (3) days, thereby reducing the entire PCT from 16 days to 14 days. "The Philippine side committed to seriously study and further improve the documentation process, including the adoption of one master contract for bulk job orders, provided there is a list of workers included," Cruz said. "We have also requested--and the Saudis agreed--for data on the nature of calls and the frequently-asked questions (FAQs) of OFWs to the 24-Hour Assistance Center the Saudi government has established to receive domestic workers' complaints," he added. Cruz said the data on the nature of calls and the FAQs may be included in the PDOS for HSWs that the OWWA conducts. Relative to this, the Saudis reiterated its intention to finance the development of an online portal to link the KSA and the Philippines on the e-contract scheme, a bid by both parties to automate recruitment and deployment procedures. "Both sides agree to nominate a team to meet, discuss, and fix a date for the completion of the online portal or automated system," Cruz reported. On the issue of the Saudi mega-recruitment companies (MRCs), Cruz reported to Secretary Baldoz that the Saudi side had emphasized that private companies in the Kingdom can continue to recruit their workers from the Philippines without passing through the Saudi MRCs. According to Cruz, the Philippine delegation clarified various issues with the Saudi side, such as the matter of service contracting where the MRCs are the visa sponsors, including the transfer provisions under KSA laws. "We have emphasized the need to come up with a mechanism for cooperation between the Saudi Ministry of Labor and the Philippine Embassy on this matter, including on the matter of access to visit Filipino workers in Saudi accommodation facilities; affording the domestic worker freedom to visit the Philippine Embassy; facilitation of repatriation; and dispute settlement," Usec Cruz said, adding: "We were emphatic in our position that the rights and entitlements of workers specified in the employment contract agreed prior to their departure from the Philippines are not undermined." On dispute settlement, Cruz said the Saudi side welcomed the offer of the Philippines to provide the Saudis technical assistance, including the possible engagement of the services of conciliation experts in the Philippines and the POLOs in the Kingdom. The Saudi side explained that domestic worker legislation governs the existing relationship of workers and employers, which also states the rights and obligations of both parties. It added that the Saudis have set up committees in all branches of the Ministry of Labor to consider everything under the employment relationship in accordance with Saudi domestic worker regulations. The Saudis committed to provide the Philippine side copy of the regulation. Undersecretary Cruz led the Philippine delegation to the 2nd JCM. The delegation was composed of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Chief Carmelita Dimzon, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Leo J. Cacdac, Labor Attaches Rustico Dela Fuente; Jainal Rasul; and Alejandro Padaen. Also joining the meeting were Director Rodolfo Sabulao of the DOLE's International Labor Affairs Bureau; Philippine Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ezzedin Tago; and Assistant Secretary Petronila Garcia of the Department of Foreign Affairs. On the part of the Saudi government, Dr. Ahmed Al Fahaid, Deputy Minister for International Affairs, led the Saudi officials composed of Mohammad Al Sharik, Director General of International Bilateral Relations; HRH Saud bin Talal Al Saud, Consultant of the International Affairs Agency; Mansour Ali Al Harigi, the official responsible for recruitment companies; Khalid A; Sulmi and Abdulrahman Al Bahdal, labor consultants; Abdulaziz Al Shatir, General Administration of Supervising Worker Recruitment; Mohammad Al HAjj and Yasser Al Otaibi International Affairs Specialists. END



Created Aug 18th 2014, 16:01

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