More than 70,000 Filipinos lost jobs abroad so far amid virus crisis

The Philippine government expects more than 70,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to have lost their job so far as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Of the total, 45,000 OFWs are to return home in May and June, adding to the 26,700 that have already been repatriated after losing their foreign employment.

Filipinos working on cruise ships and in hotels, restaurants and retail establishments have been the hardest hit, while the construction sector is also starting to report some job losses, according to the Philippine Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

The agency is asking Congress for around $50 million in additional funding as it shoulders the temporary shelter, food and transport burden of displaced overseas workers, who are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine and Covid-19 testing.

“We need to preserve our budget for reintegration, reskilling and livelihood programmes for the post-lockdown scenario,” administrator Hans Cacdac said.

Overall, job losses among OFW attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic will probably reach 100,000, Philippines government officials say, but not the 400,000 projected by private analysts.

Recovery from Covid-19 will require manpower

The background for the lower job loss forecast is the expected economic stimulus programmes in many destination countries, while the world as it recovers from the pandemic will require participation of migrant workers who are skilled professionals, like engineers and healthcare workers, as well as experienced support staff. Many OFWs fall in these categories, the experts said.

However, losses in dollar remittances due to the job cuts are expected to reach between $3 billion and $10 billion, or up to 30 per cent of the annual total by the end of the year 2020 over 2019 in the worst-case scenario.

As a ray of hope, recruitment consultants say that particularly Middle East countries cannot afford massive job cuts in critical sectors of their economies. The heavy reliance of those countries on migrant workers would prevent them from cutting jobs at a large scale as it may be difficult for them to rebound from the economic crisis of Covid-19 coupled with very low crude oil prices, they argue.

The Philippine government expects more than 70,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to have lost their job so far as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Of the total, 45,000 OFWs are to return home in May and June, adding to the 26,700 that have already been repatriated after losing their foreign employment. Filipinos working on cruise ships and in hotels, restaurants and retail establishments have been the hardest hit, while the construction sector is also starting to report some job losses, according to the Philippine Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. The agency is asking Congress for around $50 million in additional...

The Philippine government expects more than 70,000 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) to have lost their job so far as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Of the total, 45,000 OFWs are to return home in May and June, adding to the 26,700 that have already been repatriated after losing their foreign employment.

Filipinos working on cruise ships and in hotels, restaurants and retail establishments have been the hardest hit, while the construction sector is also starting to report some job losses, according to the Philippine Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

The agency is asking Congress for around $50 million in additional funding as it shoulders the temporary shelter, food and transport burden of displaced overseas workers, who are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine and Covid-19 testing.

“We need to preserve our budget for reintegration, reskilling and livelihood programmes for the post-lockdown scenario,” administrator Hans Cacdac said.

Overall, job losses among OFW attributable to the Covid-19 pandemic will probably reach 100,000, Philippines government officials say, but not the 400,000 projected by private analysts.

Recovery from Covid-19 will require manpower

The background for the lower job loss forecast is the expected economic stimulus programmes in many destination countries, while the world as it recovers from the pandemic will require participation of migrant workers who are skilled professionals, like engineers and healthcare workers, as well as experienced support staff. Many OFWs fall in these categories, the experts said.

However, losses in dollar remittances due to the job cuts are expected to reach between $3 billion and $10 billion, or up to 30 per cent of the annual total by the end of the year 2020 over 2019 in the worst-case scenario.

As a ray of hope, recruitment consultants say that particularly Middle East countries cannot afford massive job cuts in critical sectors of their economies. The heavy reliance of those countries on migrant workers would prevent them from cutting jobs at a large scale as it may be difficult for them to rebound from the economic crisis of Covid-19 coupled with very low crude oil prices, they argue.

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