MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines says the country’s workers could again go to work in Saudi Arabia, reversing a brief deployment ban after the kingdom said they would not be charged for COVID-19 tests and quarantine upon arrival.
“Our Saudi-bound workers will no longer be disadvantaged,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello.
Flag carrier Philippine Airlines said it will accept Filipino workers on flights to Dammam and Riyadh, waiving rebooking fees for passengers who had been unable to board because of the deployment ban.
Bello apologised for the “inconvenience and momentary anguish” caused by his Thursday ban, saying, “I understand that the suspension order drew confusion and irritation among our affected departing overseas Filipino workers.
More than a million Filipinos work in Saudi Arabia, government data show. Many Filipinos are hired as construction workers, domestic helpers or nurses.