Manila mulls ban on sending domestic helpers to GCC countries

September 6, 2011

Manila is planning to impose a ban on the recruitment of domestic helpers to Qatar and two other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on the ground that they do not have adequate laws to protect the rights of domestic workers.

An approval of a resolution from the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is being awaited for the ban to be imposed, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported.

Qatar is home to around 26,000 Filipina domestic helpers amid reports about increasing demands for help from the Philippines based on strong considerations for their good behavior, literacy levels and training standards.

The Peninsula said that the Philippine embassy in Doha opted not to comment on the possible ban “until the resolution is approved.”

However, media reports emanating from Manila suggested that the government of the Philippines was likely to approve a resolution that puts a blanket ban on the deployment of domestic helpers to Qatar, UAE and Kuwait.

Manila has been taking serious objections to the fact that Qatar does not have a labour law that covers domestic helpers, and in the absence of such legislation, helpers do not enjoy basic rights, such as a day off in the week and fixed working hours, the daily said.

Philippine Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz was quoted as saying that there is such a recommendation from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) which finds that the three Gulf countries could not guarantee their protection. The POEA governing board has yet to make a decision.

According to the Philippine Overseas Labour Office in Doha, Qatar is the third largest country host to Filipino domestic helpers, after Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong which rank first and second respectively.

Qatar has recently announced that it planned to allow local manpower agencies to recruit domestic helpers from new countries that included Myanmar, Nepal, Kenya and Tanzania.

Manpower agencies in Doha have been blaming the government of the Philippines for introducing tough conditions, including fixing quite high wages, for recruiting helpers.

The agencies, as a result, charge up to QR10,000 to supply a Filipina helper to a household — a sum prospective employers say is exorbitant.

Household workers including housemaids, drivers and caregivers are not covered by Qatar labour law and the bilateral labour agreement between the Philippines and Qatar.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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