Philippines Resumes Sending Migrant Workers to Saudi Arabia

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The Philippines resumed deploying workers to Saudi Arabia, a day after suspending the practice because of reports that Filipinos were being asked to pay for Covid-19 quarantine and insurance costs.

The Saudi government has ensured that employers and recruitment agencies will shoulder such expenses upon arrival, Philippine Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said in a statement on Saturday. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration will grant clearances for all workers going to the Middle East country, he said.

On Friday, almost 500 workers bound for Saudi Arabia were stopped from flying out. “The suspension order drew confusion and irritation. I apologize for the inconvenience and momentary anguish that it may have caused our overseas Filipino workers,” Bello said.

Saudi Arabia is the Philippines’ top destination for migrant labor, accounting for a fifth of workers’ deployment in late 2019, according to government data.

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