Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Philippine OFW incomes double despite global financial crisis


MANILA (PNA) -— Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) show that monthly salaries of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) abroad have doubled despite the prevailing global crisis.

“The salary rates of Filipino professionals and other skilled workers in the Middle East are still increasing. While other countries are laying off workers, you will be surprised that there has been no drop in the salaries of workers in the Middle East and other OFW destinations,” Lito Soriano, a local recruitment official, said.

Countries in the Middle East have not been affected by the crisis. “In fact, the salaries for our professional workers rose by 50 percent or even higher compared to 2006 to 2008 levels,” he said.

From a minimum monthly salary rate of US$ 1,200, Filipino engineers are now being offered a monthly pay of US$ 3,000 and above, he added.

Soriano said the Middle East is still the best place to earn at this time because employers are shouldering the board and lodging of their employees.

The increasing trend in salary rates and rising demand for OFWs in the Middle East are due to an ongoing construction boom, and is expected to continue until 2010. “We see a huge jump in the number of re-hires this year and the next,” he said.

Meanwhile, the government is finding ways to provide employment to OFWs who have lost their jobs abroad.

Government’s economic managers are currently re-mapping a common legislative economic agenda that will factor in OFWs who might be laid off from the US, the Middle East and Europe.

The POEA said reports on OFWs losing their jobs because of the creeping global recession is a serious concern, and that government should come up with policies and programs anchored on real facts and figures.

With the advent of advance computing technology, it is no longer impossible for the government to get specific names, employment history and field of specialization of unemployed OFWs, the agency said.

A menu of possible government assistance can even be automatically generated through the aid of computing technology. “This will help the government determine what kind of assistance they would need,” the agency said.

“If they have entrepreneurial skills, maybe the government can refer them to the Department of Trade and Industry for assistance in putting up their own business, or give them re-employment priority for available job opportunities in countries which continue to have a demand for overseas contract workers.”

POEA highlighted the need for the creation of an accurate and comprehensive central database of Filipino workers here and abroad who have lost their jobs in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. (PNA)

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