MANILA—As the new phase of Saudi labor localization, or also known as Nitaqat, commences, hundreds of thousands of Filipino migrant nurses in Saudi Arabia faced uncertain situation on the status of their employment.
According to Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona Saudi’s Ministry of Health has already announced a plan to localize nursing jobs in all its medical facilities.
There are about 130,000 to 150,000 Filipino nurses in Saudi.
According to the reports, Saudi’s circular to all its administrative units indicate that employment contracts with foreign nurses who have already completed 10 years of service will be terminated to give way to the employment of newly graduate Saudi nurses.
“Though it is a bad news to our nurses, we are quite certain that Saudi’s MoH plan of replacing 10-year in-service foreign nurses including Filipino nurses is in line of the Nitaqat that entered its new phase of implementation,” Monterona noted.
Monterona added though the replacement of foreign nurses by local Saudi nurses will not be abrupt, termination is already occurring in government-run hospitals and clinics.
Migrante’s monitoring and assistance campaign already monitored 27 nurses, out of the total more than 60 were terminated as of August this year.
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.
According to records of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, there were around 9,000 Filipino nurses deployed in Saudi Arabia in 2010.
“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 said.