By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
The number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) deployed to Qatar in the first quarter of 2016 has significantly increased despite reported retrenchments from various companies in the country during this period, figures from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed.
The comparison was based on the record posted by POEA during the second quarter of 2015 (Q2) since figures during the first quarter (Q1 2015) have yet to be completed for some reasons, according to the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Doha.
However, labour attache David Des Dicang told Gulf Times that the figures could be almost the same based on the trend from the second to the fourth quarter of 2015.
“There was a high demand in all categories of workers including household service workers (HSWs) based on POEA records and contracts that we processed daily,” he stressed.
The average annual number of deployed land-based OFWs to Qatar range between 94,000 and 114,000 from 2011 to 2014. Preliminary data for 2015 was for new hires only and some OFWs who were locally hired in Qatar may not be included in the record.
The number of labourers reached 2,762 in Q1 of 2016, an increase by 2,052 (nearly tripled) compared with Q2 of 2015 figures (710). These include cleaners, guards and watchmen, construction workers and other types of labour workers.
For highly and semi-skilled workers, the number had increased from 1,535 in Q2 2015 to 4,141 in Q1 2016.
Highly skilled workers include laboratory technicians, cooks, chefs, and other construction related workforce such as carpenters, welders, painters, steel and tile fixers, plasterers, plumbers, and pipe fitters, among others.
Electric/mechanic assistants, glass cutters, assistant cooks, waiters, kitchen helpers, washer and pressmen, and gardeners are categorised as semi-skilled.
While there's a surge in the number of deployed workers in these categories in Q1 of 2016, POEA saw a slight decrease in Q3 and Q4 of 2015.
Meanwhile, the number of OFW professionals had more than tripled from 415 in Q2 of 2015 to 1,379 in Q1 of 2016. These include engineers, nurses, software developers, geologists, soil experts, architects, bankers, professors, teachers, scientists, doctors, pharmacists, and other Philippine Regulation Commission-licensed individuals.
The POEA record also noted that some 6,617 HSWs or housemaids (nanny and household helper) had been deployed in Q1 of 2016, a decrease of 311 compared with the Q2 of 2015 figures. The highest deployment of HSWs was recorded in the Q4 of 2015 with 7,577.
After Indonesia stopped sending HSWs to Qatar, the demand for Filipino HSWs further surged based on the number of individual employment contracts processed at POLO.
“While the Philippine government is focusing on sending more professionals than labourers and HSWs, the demand for HSWs has remained high in Qatar,” Dicang added.
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