By Corina Oliquino
FilAm Star Correspondent
MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Philippines are looking into the prospect of Russia as the next destination for OFWs. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello on December 5 said that the Philippine government is eyeing Russia as the “next destination for skilled Filipino workers.”
According to Bello, President Duterte’s official visit to Russia and meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin early next year will pave the way for the two leaders to discuss labor relations.
Early in his assumption to office, Duterte promised and forged warmer ties and alliances with Russia and China for his administration’s proposed independent policy, at the expense of longtime ally, United States. At the Asia-Pacific summit in Lima, Peru Duterte expressed his desire for a stronger alliance with Russia.
In a story by The Philippine Daily
Inquirer, Bello said that Russia is “becoming” a good alternative through its relatively higher wages for skilled and professional workers.
“I already sent a memo to the President requesting him to include the possible deployment of skilled and professional workers to Russia,” Bello said in a statement posted by DOLE.
In addition, Bello said that there is a demand for construction and household service workers in the socialist state of Russia.
“Bello said that because of the decline in oil price in the Middle East, there are fewer job opportunities in that part of the globe and Russia is a good alternative for skilled and professional workers who are looking for high-paying jobs,” the DOLE statement read.
“We noticed that there is a decline in the demand for OFWs in the Middle East. We have to look for other countries where there are demands for our OFWs,” Bello added.
According to DOLE, there are about 4,000 OFWs in Russia who are working in construction, hotels, and households.
Top OFW destinations for 2016
Meanwhile, in a report by an on-line site for job seekers Workabroad.ph through their Overseas Report released last November 23, despite the ongoing oil crisis and the number of OFWs repatriated and laid-off, Saudi Arabia retained its position as the top destination for OFWs with 46,206 jobs translating to a 39 percent contribution to the total jobs posted on Workabroad.ph from January to September 2016.
In a post from Rappler, POEA Director Robert Larga said that the volume of demand and job orders from Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi remained high while Workabroad.ph’s Business Manager Rhea Suiza attributed this to the fact that the oil crisis mainly affects government sectors in Saudi Arabia and “there is still a lot of job postings for Filipino workers from private companies.”
Following Saudi Arabia is another Middle Eastern country, Qatar, with 11,991 posted jobs.
Rounding off the top 10 OFW destinations for 2016 are: United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 6,670 posted jobs, Kuwait with 3,465 posted jobs, Bahrain with 2,433 posted jobs, Oman with 1,950 posted jobs, United States (U.S.A.) with 1,225 posted jobs, New Zealand with 572 posted jobs, Brunei Darussalam with 518 posted jobs and Australia with 473 posted jobs.
As per the highest-paying countries for OFWs, according to Workabroad.ph, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) steals the top spot over the United States with healthcare-related jobs as top earners in the UAE with doctors’ salaries at Php253,826 (or U.S. $5,093.84) a month.
Other countries in the Top 10 are Qatar (with salaries at Php209,700 or U.S. $4,207.55; Aviation/ Aircraft Maintenance), Canada (Php172,500 or U.S. $3,461.15; Healthcare/ Medical Support Assistant), New Zealand (Php172,500 or U.S. $3,461.15; Healthcare/ Medical Support Assistant), United Kingdom (Php153,333 or U.S. $3,076.15; Healthcare/ Doctor/Diagnosis), Singapore (Php138,000 or U.S. $2,768.52; Engineering), Saudi Arabia (Php138,000 or U.S. $2,768.52; Public Relations/Communications), Macau (Php118,833 or U.S. $2,383.95; Engineering), Bahrain (Php113,030 or U.S. $2,267.53; Architecture/ Interior Design), and Oman (Php95,000 or U.S. $1,905.83; Customer Service).
“From being the top paying country in 2015, the U.S. didn’t make it to the top 10 this year with demand for healthcare workers declining,” Workabroad.ph Business Unit Manager Rhea Suiza said via Rappler.
According to Workabroad.ph, the report covers land-based job postings from January to September 2016.
In demand job specializations
According to Workabroad.ph’s Overseas Report 2016, Engineering-related jobs remain the most in demand job for overseas workers with 30,972 posted jobs followed by general work such as housekeeper, driver, dispatch, etc. with 22,367 posted jobs, and hospitality-related jobs with 13,681 posted jobs.
Other in demand jobs are Healthcare-related (Nurse/ Medical Support Assistant) with 13,339 posted jobs, Manufacturing/ Production Operations with 7,159 posted jobs, Maintenance/ Repair with 4,484 posted jobs, Personal/ Care/ Beauty/ Fitness Service with 3,059 posted jobs, Sales-related with 2,896 posted jobs, Clerical/ Administrative Support with 1,833 posted jobs and Arts/Graphic Design with 1,761 posted jobs.
In a Rappler post, according to POEA’s Market Promotions Division Chief Rachel Angeles, about 4,800 OFWs are deployed every day with a total remittance of U.S. $14.6 billion or Php728 billion in the first six months of 2016 alone.