By Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com
LOS ANGELES – There’s a construction boom in the Middle East and they need hundreds of thousands of Filipino skilled workers fast!
The problem is the supply cannot meet the demand. The Philippines is running out of skilled workers to deploy to the Middle East. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia alone is asking the Philippine government to fill up some 300,000 different positions this year. Other Middle East countries like United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman are also in the midst of a trilliondollar construction binge. Labor demand from these countries has increased in the past three years, with employers offering higher salaries to Filipinos who want to seek greener pasture.
One recruitment consultant, Emmanuel Geslani, admitted that it will be very difficult to deploy 300,000 workers to Saudi Arabia this year as the country’s manpower agencies experienced problems in filling up just over 100,000 job orders which the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) approved for 2007.
“Recruitment companies are vying with each other in attracting the few remaining qualified Filipino construction workers with free placement and welfare benefits,” Geslani said in a press statement. He noted that in 2007, only 1,012,054 workers were deployed, only a little above the one-million mark, with the help of 480,000 re-hires.
Records from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration show that deployment of Filipinos to Dubai and Qatar increased by 200 percent in the past three years. It was estimated that only 350,000 were new-hires in 2007, with the sea-based sector adding an additional 250,000 seafarers to the total deployment.
Geslani suggested that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) implement a massive manpower training campaign to train skilled workers in the construction industry to meet the huge demand in the Middle East and other parts of the world looking for more Filipino blue-collar workers.