“Every year, a big number of OFWs try their fate and gamble just to have a job that can feed their families and send their kids to school. Aware of the risks, OFWs still come to the Kingdom bearing the burden to provide their families with a better life and better future. But there is no permanent in life except “change”. And change always cost something.”
Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Filipinos working in different sectors.
Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia can be found working in hospitals, restaurants, construction and oil companies, schools and even in houses as household service workers among others. Saudi Arabia has become a home for most OFWs, some even brought their families to live with them.
Being an unfamiliar territory with strict rules and laws,
working in the Kingdom has become the bread and butter for most OFWs who were not given an opportunity in their own country to find a decent job with enough earning for their families. Every year,
a big number of OFWs try their fate and gamble just to have a job that can feed their families and send their kids to school.
Aware of the risks, OFWs still come to the Kingdom bearing the burden to provide their families with a better life and better future.
But there is no permanent in life except “change”.
And change always cost something.
Saudi Arabia has started Saudization since 2011.
‘Saudization’, officially known as Saudi nationalization scheme, or Nitaqat system in Arabic, is the newest policy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia implemented by its Ministry of Labor, whereby Saudi companies and enterprises are required to fill up their workforce with Saudi nationals up to certain levels. It calls for an increase in the share of Saudi manpower to total employment and for expanding work opportunities for Saudi women and youth.
With the implementation of this changes, many expats including OFWs are under the risk of losing their jobs.
In a report dated August 9, 2016 by Arab News, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development plans to nationalize all health jobs in the Kingdom in collaboration with its counterparts. Saudization will not be limited only to the pharmaceutical sector.
In the pharmaceutical sector alone they are expecting 15,000 jobs that can be made available for the Saudi Nationals – it translates to 15,000 expats which include OFWs that will lose their jobs. In the automobile sector, they are expecting 9,000 jobs for citizens. In March this year, the ministry made a decision that forbids non-Saudis from selling and maintaining mobile phone devices and accessories. The ruling was made in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Municipal and Rural Affairs and Communications and Information Technology.
This is really happening and it is hitting the expats hard and fast. You need to be ready when it comes.
The Duterte government, The POEA, and OWWA formulate reintegration programs to help the OFWs, especially those who will be hit by retrenchments due to unavoidable circumstances including Saudization, but it will not be sufficient. Every OFW needed to be prepared.
Mr. Loreto B. Soriano, a former OFW in Saudi Arabia and the CEO of LBS Recruitment Solutions has some useful insights on how to plan your return.
“Its a long-range plan so OFWs must have their own plan too. And the plan must start with increased capacity to reduce expenses by himself in the job site and his family then augment with increased effort to save more monthly, ” Mr. Soriano said.
Bringing the family in the job site unless the wife or husband is employed should be avoided.
When preparing for a vacation, an OFW must have “his and his family” an expenditure plan.
“Pag mag- exit naman but balak pang mag-abroad. Dapat may financial plan to cover the days, weeks, months na un-employed siya and without income. Where shall fund come if the emergency fund is exhausted- without touching the savings in the bank ‘coz the savings is for the family, ” he added.
Saudi has been deeply planning its exit from depending on migrant workers. We know it will take them time, maybe 10-15 more years… at least, they are better off in adopting a “long-range exit plan” compared to us in the Philippines. We always believe we are badly needed, we are the best, and we keep on postponing to sit down or probably we are afraid to acknowledge the truth. I appeal we must start to craft our “exit strategy and plans” from over-dependence on overseas migration and OFW remittances.” Mr. Soriano stated.
“Their exit plan start with no extension of residence permit of those with 10years employment stay in Saudi. No valid residence permit-no recontract, no re-entry visa.”
“On the health sector in Saudi the loss of jobs from Saudization maybe slower compared to other sectors.” he said.
Being an OFW for years, how much do you actually save?
Due to the lack of financial knowledge, most OFWs remain broke after years of working hard overseas.
The key word is save, save and save.
When something unexpected happens, you must be ready. You needed to be prepared.
This article is filed under: OFW News, OFW Exit Plan, OFW Plan, OFW Future
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Dominador Say, undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), said that talks are underway with Chinese embassy officials on this possibility. China’s five major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen will soon be the destination for Filipino domestic workers who are seeking higher income.