By Dennis Carcamo (philstar.com)
MANILA, Philippines – At least 150,000 Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia might lose their jobs after the labor localization policy, known as Nitaqat, enters a new phase, according to a migrant workers’ rights group.
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Monterona said Saudi’s Ministry of Health (MoH) has already announced a plan to localize nursing jobs in all its medical facilities.
Reports said Saudi’s MoH issued a circular to all its administrative units indicating that employment contracts with foreign nurses, who have already worked for 10 years, will be terminated to give way to the employment of newly graduate Saudi nurses.
“Though it is a bad news to our Filipino nurses, we are quite certain that Saudi’s MoH plan of replacing 10-year in-service foreign nurses is in line of the Nitaqat that entered its new phase of implementation,” Monterona said.
Last week, Saudi’s Ministry of Labor had announced that the Nitaqat enters new phase of implementation last Saturday, September 10.
Monterona said the replacement of foreign nurses by local Saudi nurses will not be abrupt, termination is already occurring in government-run hospitals and clinics.
Based on Migrante data, some 27 Filipino nurses, out of the more than 60 were terminated last month.
The terminated Filipino nurses were working in Saudi health ministry hospitals in Al-Tager and in Jeddah, both at the western region of Saudi Arabia. Fifteen Filipino nurses worked in Saudi-German hospital, also in Jeddah.
“As per our rough estimates, there are around 130,000 to 150,000 Filipino nurses working in Saudi Arabia, 60 percent of them had been working more than 10 years in the oil-rich Kingdom,” Monterona noted.
As per POEA 2010 records, there were around 9,000 Filipino nurses deployed in Saudi Arabia in 2010, making it the top Filipino nurses destination since 1990s.