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DOLE mulls suspension of OFW deployment to countries maintaining Kafala system

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may consider suspending the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in countries still using the kafala system. 

Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III made the statement after President Rodrigo R. Duterte said in an online forum of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that he wants the scheme to be abolished “sooner rather than later.”

“They know if the President makes a call for the protection of OFWs, and it is not followed, our direction is to suspend or at least slow down the deployment of OFWs,” Bello said. 

Under the Kafala System, which is practiced by most Middle East countries, migrant workers are required to get a sponsor before they could be employed in their host country.  

Duterte called the scheme unjust and exploitative since it gives the sponsors too much control over their migrant employees. 

Some Gulf Cooperation Council states like Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have started abolishing the scheme. 

“I think Middle East countries will grant the request of our President,” Bello said.

Most of the 8.8 million Filipinos working abroad are in the Middle East countries. 

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