Saudization: A Threat?

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“Poor labor system causes brain drain” is a statement by a concerned senator which reflects the current labor situation in the Philippines. Mainly due to contractualization, Filipino workers have no choice but to work abroad to provide the needs of their families. But as the Saudi government noticed the need for improvement, especially in their employment sector, they found out that most of the positions are being occupied by foreign expatriates particularly from the South East Asia. This paved a way for the implementation of the “Saudization” policy. But what is this policy which bothered the workers and employers in Saudi Arabia? What would be the effect of this kind of amendment in the labor management system and to our Overseas Filipino Workers in particular? In the process of Saudization, ten percent (10%) of the total population of workers in local companies should be Saudi nationals, as amended by their labor management office effective June 11, 2011. This process is divided into four categories: Blue, Green, Yellow and Red. In the blue category are the companies which are considered as VIPs, the green ones are those which have been marked excellent while the yellow and red category are those which have been marked poor and non-compliant and are given limited and full restrictions respectively. Meanwhile, the Philippine government is now preparing solutions for the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) who will be affected by the amendment. These include livelihood programs and re-employment to other countries. (Jay Paul Agonoy)