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Migrant group sounds alarm over alleged rising number of distressed OFWs in UAE

Migrante Middle East has challenged the Philippine government to “devise preventive and long-lasting solutions” to address the alleged labor rights violations against Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

The group said it is “disturbed by the rising cases of contract substitutions and labor rights violations” experienced by OFWs in the UAE, “particularly in the cleaning services sector.”

“Since early 2020, a huge number of distressed cleaners reportedly had their labor rights and overall welfare violated by their employers. The majority of these affected workers were directly hired from the Philippines through POEA job orders,” Migrante Middle East said in a statement.

The group said there were OFWs deployed in UAE whose “signed master contracts have been substituted and/or revised without their consent by Philippine agencies and are different from what is being honored in the host country.”

The group also reported that Filipino migrant workers have been suffering “multiple labor malpractices,” such as “grueling extended working hours without overtime pay and proper rest, unjust salary deductions, and other unlawful company policies superseding the local labor law were imposed upon the employees.”

Recently, the Philippines had stopped the deployment of newly-hired domestic workers in Kuwait – another Middle Eastern country – “until more safeguards are in place” for the protection and welfare of OFWs, according to authorities. 

The ban was announced after migrant worker Jullebe Ranara was killed in Kuwait in January.

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Migrante Middle East said holding the perpetrators accountable is only one part of the Philippine government’s responsibility “to devise preventive and long-lasting solutions to ensure and uphold the rights and welfare of Filipino migrant workers.” 

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