More than 222,000 Filipino expatriates are now working in Qatar, an increase of over 34,000 from last year, according to the Philippine embassy.
Quoting figures provided by the Ministry of Interior, the mission said the number of Filipinos now working in the country was 222,712, while the number for 2015 was 188,000.
"This excludes those who are on family visa, family visit, and business/tourist visas," Consul General Roussel Reyes, who has newly arrived in Doha, said. He was introduced by ambassador Wilfredo Santos to reporters last week.
With an increasing number of Filipinos arriving, Reyes noted that Doha was one of the busiest Philippine embassies around the world.
The Filipino population in the country is also augmented by an average of 20 new births every month, the embassy official said.
“A lot of Filipino mothers are giving birth here in Qatar, and many couples also get married here, around four to six per week,” he added.
The embassy conducts wedding ceremonies twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. However, Reyes also noted that an average of two Filipinos die every week, most of them due to natural causes.
Due to the increasing number of Filipino expatriates in Qatar, the embassy is currently ‘instituting’ several changes at the chancery to serve them better.
Santos said the mission has increased the number of data capturing machines to serve Filipinos who applied for new passports as well as those wishing to renew. Among other measures under consideration are outsourcing the visa application process and implementing an appointment system to make the embassy less crowded.
Filipino expatriates can also call the embassy hotline (5527-5123) for inquiries and assistance while feedbacks are also currently being addressed by the embassy.
“Please bear with us. We are doing everything possible to make it more convenient for our Filipino nationals,” the envoy pointed out.
The Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Doha expects to see a continuing demand for almost all categories of Filipino workers, including skilled, semi-skilled, low-skilled, household service workers, and professionals.
Labour attache David Des Dicang cited an increasing number of Filipino workers in the hospitality, and food and beverage sectors, as well as in the services sector, who are being deployed to Qatar.
“These include cleaners, hotel staff, cooks and waitresses, among others,” he said, noting an increasing demand for maintenance workers as the number of new business establishments operating in the country has increased.
According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the average annual number of deployed land-based Filipino expatriates to Qatar ranged between 94,000 and 114,000 from 2011 to 2014.
Dicang also sees an increasing number of Filipino workers arriving in Qatar to be deployed in the construction sector.