By CHRIS V PANGANIBAN
DOHA: There is increasing demand for Filipina maids in Qatar despite the talk of Manila thinking of imposing a ban on sending domestic workers to GCC countries.
Some 4,000 maids have been recruited from the Philippines since the onset of the current year taking their total number to 40,000 from an estimated 36,000 at the end of 2011, according to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) here.
With more and more Qatari women pursuing higher education and taking up jobs, Qatari households, especially nuclear families, are forced to increasingly rely on maids.
“Qatari families prefer Filipina maids because they are well-organised and work quite efficiently,” said a senior official from a manpower agency here not wanting his name in print.
When told that Qatari families have lately been complaining of relatively higher salaries demanded by Filipina maids and high recruitment charges, the manpower agency official said that was not true.
“Their salaries range between $220 a month to $250,” he said, adding that this was quite an accepted wage band. “This works out to around QR900 which is not a high sum.”
He, though, admitted that paperwork to recruit Filipina maids are quite cumbersome, time-taking and complicated.
Meanwhile, efforts to resolve the impasse on the ban on the recruitment of Filipina maids to Qatar continue and there is no word yet on the proposed “model job contract” for Filipina maids that the Qatari government has been working on to convince Manila there is no need to impose a ban.
Manila wants to ban the recruitment of Filipina maids to the GCC states citing what it says are inadequate laws to protect their rights and their not being covered by the bilateral labour agreements between the Philippines and the countries in the region.
The proposal to ban Filipino housemaids from working in the GCC countries, however, is under review until April 2012 by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in response to legislative action by the Philippine Congress.
The Philippine Congress has given the POEA six more months to review the certification issued by Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in respect of 31 other countries, including those in the Middle East.
Labour Attache Leopoldo de Jesus here said local laws regulating the entry of Filipina housemaids in Qatar have loosened up a bit nowadays compared to other GCC countries which could explain their rapid increase.
He said a stricter monitoring by the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency in Manila on the processing of documents by the recruitment agencies back home and their counterparts in Qatar have positively worked for both countries that could have lead to a strong demand of Filipina maids.