Philippines halts labour movement to Qatar
The suspension "is for the welfare and protection" of overseas Filipino workers in the Gulf state, the Philippines' Department of Labour and Employment said
The Philippines Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) released a statement confirming the temporary stoppage of its citizens' deployment to Qatar.
Up to 250,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are based in Qatar, DOLE's statement revealed. As of January 2016, at least 12,000 OFWs in Qatar were architects and engineers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H Bello III said OFWs would be temporarily prohibited from travelling to the Gulf state.
He added: "This is for us to be able to assess the situation [... and] this suspension is for the welfare and protection of our OFWs.
"We need to study the situation. For now, the protection of our migrant workers comes first," he added.
Bello also stated that the duration of the suspension will "depend on the assessment of the situation, with close coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs".
He noted that OFWs "should not worry, as [the] Philippines still maintains good diplomatic relations with Qatar".
According to DOLE's statement, recruitment agencies have also been advised to collaborate with their Qatari counterparts and ensure that OFWs are "sufficiently and effectively protected".