Local manpower agencies say the Qatari authorities have stopped issuing work visas for Filipina maids, but the embassy of the Philippines here has denied any ban on domestic workers from their country.
“We are not providing maids from the Philippines right now because the immigration department has stopped issuing visa for them for the past few months,” an official from a manpower agency said.
The Philippine Embassy insisted there was no ban on Filipina housemaids and said there was no official communication from the Qatari government in this regard. “We have not received any official communication to that effect,” Charge d’Affaires, Melvin C Almonguera, told The Peninsula yesterday.
Embassy officials as well as those at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo), however, refused to comment when asked how many job requests for Filipina maids they were clearing on average a day and if the number had come down in recent months.
All requests from prospective employers in Qatar for workers from the Philippines, including domestic sector workforce, must be cleared by the embassy and Polo.
“Those figures are with the Overseas Employment Bureau in Manila and not with us,” a Polo official said, evading questions from this newspaper.
The manpower agency official, however, said he and others in the recruitment business were hopeful that the situation would change and Qatar would soon resume issuing work visas for Filipina maids.
An official from another manpower agency confirmed that it had been months that the Qatari authorities had stopped issuing visas for Filipina maids.
Almongeura, though, reiterated in remarks to this newspaper that the issue was not new and that rumours about the ban had been going on in the local community circles for a while, but so far the Qatari government has not yet given any official confirmation to the embassy.
The issue, he said, started when the Philippine government strictly imposed the minimum wage of $400 for Filipina housemaids around the world as part of the Household Service Workers (HSW) Policy Reform Package, which many Qatari families opposed.
“The Reform Package started to be implemented in 2007 but it was only recently that it was strictly enforced by the Philippine government,” said Almangeura.
Promulgated six years ago, the policy was aimed at professionalizing domestic work and minimizing vulnerabilities of Filipina housemaids. The policy stipulates a number of provisions and the $400 minimum wage is just one of its features.
Other important aspects of the policy, Almonguera mentioned, included upping the minimum age requirement of Filipina housemaids from 21 to 23 years and upgrading their skills through training with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the Philippines.
A seminar on the culture and language of the country of destination and requiring employer to shoulder the cost of deploying the housemaid are also significant aspects of the policy.
Almonguera, however, said there had been many violations of the minimum wage rule with a prospective housemaid signing a contract with an agency in the Philippines entitling her for a $400 monthly wage but the contract is ‘reprocessed’ here giving her only $200.
Some manpower agencies in Qatar however said the Immigration department has stopped issuing visas for Filipina housemaids.
Source : Qatar Chronicle
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