x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Philippines lifts ban on workers to Jordan

The Philippines has lifted a five-year ban on its nationals working in Jordan that was imposed amid concerns over poor labour conditions.

MANILA // The Philippines yesterday lifted a five-year ban on its nationals working in Jordan that was imposed amid concerns over poor labour conditions.

The ban was lifted after the Philippine and Jordanian governments forged two agreements this year aimed at protecting the workers, including a minimum monthly salary of 280 dinars (Dh1,450), the overseas workers administration said.

The ban on Jordan was imposed in 2007 because of "the growing number of distressed Filipino workers" who were seeking help from Philippine diplomatic offices there, the administration said.

"There were a whole variety of issues. Some of them [were] abused. Some were beaten. The point was, because some of these workers had run away, the deployment was stopped," the administration vice chairman Hans Cacdac said.

Yesterday's announcement came after the Philippines said last month it had won a long battle with Saudi Arabia and secured a minimum monthly wage of 1,500 riyals (Dh1,450) for Filipino workers there.

About 10 per cent of the Philippine population of almost 100 million have gone abroad to work in better-paying jobs than they can get in their homeland.

Many of the Filipinos in Middle East countries work as maids, labourers, janitors and other low-paying professions.

The government also announced yesterday it had partially lifted a ban on working in Lebanon that was imposed after fighting erupted between Israel and Hizbollah in 2006.

The ban on Lebanon was only removed for Filipinos already working there illegally, but talks are going on to have it completely lifted, Cacdac said.

There are more than 24,000 Filipinos working illegally in Lebanon, according to government estimates.