Just recently, the Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia announced that there are job vacancies available for female Filipino nurses trained in special areas. However, most applicants are hesitant to pursue their job applications because they are well-informed about the present employment crisis, termed as “Saudization”, that has enveloped the rich Arab country since June 2011. Although this is a serious issue that we have to deal with as a country, there are a lot of misconceptions that we have to clear out about this “Saudization” phenomenon before anything else. And as a nurse with a sole intention to educate my fellow nurses, I want to share this five essential information that you must know about the “Saudization”:
1. Saudization is a strict law but it will not cause massive displacement of Filipino nurses.
Saudization or the Saudi Nationalization Scheme (Nitaqat system) is the recent law implemented in Saudi that compels institutions and enterprises to fill-up their labor force with Saudi nationals. This is an answer to the country’s growing number of unemployed citizens. According to www.nursing.ph, companies which fail to comply with the said policy will not be allowed to apply for new, replacement or seasonal visa for their foreign workers nor can they change their foreign workers’ profession. They cannot also file an application to open new enterprises or branches. This in turn will inhibit them to hire foreign employees thus decreasing job offers in our country. On the upside, enterprises which are able to fulfill the said requirement can hire more foreign employees. For this reason, it is clear that “Saudization” will not cause massive termination of Filipino nurses and OFWs; only those who are working for companies that failed to comply with the requirements of Saudization have the chance to lose their jobs.
2. Saudization has been implemented for regulation purposes only so annual recruitment of Filipino nurses is still allowed.
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) calmed the public by saying that the Saudization would not have an immediate impact on OFWs because it would be implemented in a gradual manner. Some areas are not yet affected of the law and several companies have successfully complied with the Saudization requirements so the demands for Filipino nurses and other skilled workers remain high.
3. Filipino nurses from non-compliant companies will be allowed to be rehired by other companies if they pass a certain standard.
Workers, who are employed on companies that are not compliant to the policy and yet have exceeded 6 years of stay in KSA, can still be hired by compliant companies without the permission of their employers. (www.nursing.ph)
4. The Philippine government, through the assistance of DOLE, is doing its best to save Filipino nurses and other OFWs from the wrath of Saudization.
The Department of Labor and Employment of the Philippines(DOLE) has taken measures to provide immediate assistance to OFW’s affected by this phenomenon. It has created an online registration system to put up a database which consist accurate information of the workers affected by Saudization. Moreover, DOLE also made an on-site re-employment assistance which helps transfer affected workers to compliant companies, and reintegration assistance for returning OFW’s. (www.nursing.ph)
5. There is a possibility that Saudization might fail, at least according to predictions of some Arab nationals.
A news report published on www.filipinosabroad.com has revealed that after six months of implementation, labor officials in Saudi are saying that Saudization is so far a failure. As a matter of fact, 50% of private companies in Saudi are non-compliant with the scheme despite warnings that they would not be issued new work visas. This information appeared in an article in Emirates 24/7, a news site based in Dubai, UAE. In addition to that, other nationalities have failed to imitate the quality of care that Filipino nurses provide to their patients so it won’t be surprising at all if KSA will one day announce that Saudization is no longer in effect.