(MENAFN - Arab News) The Philippine Overseas Labor Office said yesterday that it has accredited 44 Saudi recruitment agencies in the Western province to hire Filipino household service workers (HSW) to work in Saudi Arabia.
"Many agencies have applied as recruiters of Filipino HSWs but we have been very careful in screening them," Labor Attache Alex A. Padaen told Arab News. "This is why only 44 have been accredited so far in the Western Province. We examine the documents they have submitted for accreditation."
The Kingdom started issuing visas for Filipino HSWs including housemaids on Oct. 1. The recruitment of HSWs to work in the Kingdom was halted over differences between the Kingdom and the Philippines over the rights of housemaids.
Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Khaled bin Saud bin Khaled had earlier announced that the Kingdom will begin issuing visas after it reached an agreement with the Philippines that respects the sovereignty of the Kingdom and its laws while it also protects the rights of Saudi employers.
Padaen said that Jeddah POLO ensures that Saudi recruitment agencies applying for accreditation comply with rules and regulations and possess the documents complying with the Memorandum Circular No. 8 of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
"In this connection, we call on them to make sure that they have existing offices. In other words, we make an ocular inspection," he said. "We make sure that they have adequate number of staff to ensure the protection of HSWs and have proper office facilities. If we think they qualify, we issue them a certificate of accreditation."
The Saudi recruitment agencies forward their certificates of accreditation from the Jeddah POLO to their counterparts in the Philippines, which will bring the documents to the POEA for registration.
"The POEA examines these documents and once they are registered, they could already start recruiting HSWs for deployment in Saudi Arabia," he said. "These HSWs include housemaids, baby sitters, gardeners, cook and family drivers."
He also added that the POLO could approve applications for HSWs if documents are complete. These documents include the copy of the contract, passport of the recruited HSW and plane ticket.
Explaining the rush among recruitment agencies to apply for accreditation, Padaen said that local households need HSWs, particularly housemaids.
"The Kingdom's population is growing," he said. "It was estimated at 25 million last year. Of the number, there were 16 million Saudi nationals and nine million expatriates.