Jobless in Jeddah: 200 OFWs stranded without pay
200 Philippine healthcare workers have marched to the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah yesterday demanding action against their employer, who has not paid their salaries for six months.
The workers are nurses and clinic staff at the Al Ansar Hospital in Jeddah, which is due to be closed. Not only have the employees been left without pay, but many have not been given their 'release papers' by their employer, leaving them in a precarious situation. Because of the kafala system, which ties a migrant's right to work and remain in the country to the permission of his or her sponsor, these workers cannot find alternative employment until their sponsor officially 'releases' them to seek alternative employment.
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“They are complaining of non-payment of their salary for six months now which they would like to be released immediately amid the impending closure of the hospital, and are demanding that they all be given their release papers so that they could look for possible employment," said Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona, who has been assisting the workers.
According to Monterona, only 59 workers have so far received their release papers, while all are still awaiting payment of their salaries.
The Philippine Consulate in Jeddah and a recruitment agency that brought some of the workers over are currently working on the case.