Saudi Arabia eyes tapping 1M Filipino workers – Ople

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 30) — Saudi Arabia is targeting to hire about one million Filipino skilled workers in 18 to 24 months, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said on Tuesday.

During a briefing, Ople bared that the Philippine government had discussions with the private sector in Saudi Arabia for possible mass hiring.

“I see exciting times ahead for our Filipino workers and also for our partners overseas. When we were in Saudi Arabia, we are exploring the possibility of a special hiring program to address the labor needs of Saudi Arabia,” she said.

The official noted the key sectors that are in need of Filipino talent include hotels and restaurants, construction, and information and technology.

“We in the department will have to look at, have a special hiring program that would accommodate their needs while also scaling up our skills training and opportunities for job internships so that may (there is a) continued sustainability for our own needs and our needs of our external partners,” Ople said.

Officials from the Philippines and Saudi Arabia are expected to meet in June to finalize the massive hiring program.

Aside from Saudi Arabia, the government is also in talks with other countries about job opportunities for Filipinos, including the United Arab Emirates, Austria, Guam, Portugal, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Canada.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Tristan Nodalo contributed to this report.