Saudization is Good for Filipino OFWs

Since the Saudi Ministry of Health announced the Saudization program or policy in July this year, there had been reports of how the nationalization of employment, dubbed “nitaqaat” (giving priority and preference to local Saudis) will affect Filipino professionals and skilled workers.

Migration NewsArchived
Share this article
Saudization is Good for Filipino OFWs
Posted on December 1, 2011

Consider the following reports:

§  An estimated 130,000 Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia are expected to bear the brunt of the kingdom’s “Saudization” policy, a migrant rights group said Tuesday.

§  With over a million Filipinos currently employed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the recently implemented Nitaqat system (or “Saudization” of the work force) is certainly not good news for the Philippine economy (

§  The number of Filipino workers who will be affected---possibly displaced---as a result of the Saudization program of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is four times more than that initially estimated by the Labor department, a private support group said on Thursday. Migrante-Middle East estimates that 360,000 overseas Filipino workers will be affected, not just the 90,000 cited by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The groups condemning the Saudization policy were directing their ire at the Philippine government and the Kingdom of Saudi Araba, even Middle East employers, asking, pleading, appealing, cajoling, but not offering viable solutions.

The reality stares us in the face. The Philippine government is not likely to abandon its Overseas Employment program that has lifted the Philippine boat against the floods of global recession.  Nor will the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia retreat from its intention to employ its own citizens.  With the Arab spring still in conflagration stage, providing escape hatches prevent social explosion.

And the OFWs who are supposed to be affected by the Nitaqaat seem not to be Natatakot at all. While the Philippine government has provided a means by which OFWs affected by the Saudization can register “for assistance and at the very least, monitoring” not too many have gone to consulates.

By merely accepting this reality, we become the first to blink.

What are the Options?

The “Nitaaqat” — “Scopes” – program came into effect as of June 11, 2011, and classifies companies as Excellent, Green, Yellow and Red, according to their rates of Saudization – now known as “nationalization” in the ministry’s new terminology. Companies can check their status by visiting the government website:

By knowing the right options available right now, Filipinos can use the Saudization colors to their advantage.

The 130,000 Nurses for example and the hundreds of thousands more (both professionals and skilled workers) have the opportunity to apply for permanent residency to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States.  Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill lifting the quota for immigrant visas for workers (Nurses and Therapists among them). The bill – H.R. 3012 passed by an absolute majority vote on November 29 and has been forwarded to the U.S. Senate where a counterpart and companion bill (with the same name and provisions) awaits.

The countries mentioned Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States have their own list of occupations in demand or in short supply. By being on such a list, a Filipino professional or skilled worker in Saudi or the Middle East can apply for permanent residency without leaving the current job or country.

Canada has a list of Priority Occupations – which includes Registered Nurses, Physical Therapists, Pharmacists, X-Ray technicians, licensed practical nurses, Electricians, Welders, Plumbers, Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanics, Foremen/.Supervisors in the Mechanical and Carpentry Trades among others.

Australia has its Skilled Occupations List (Schedule 1 and 2); New Zealand has its Essential Skills in Demand List (the Immediate and Long Term); the US has its Schedule A occupations. Even the UK has published its own Shortage Occupations List.  However, the UK restricts or limits visas to the Tier 2 category and only 20,700 per year worldwide.

Colorful Career and Life awaits you.  Green card, green bucks, even blue passports (for green card holders in the US who subsequently obtain U.S. citizenship).  Blue is the color of the European union. 

In fact, even if you are not in the Middle East but nevertheless affected by the global recession, these options are still open and viable.

For more information on how you can qualify, please send your complete and updated resume to

Got a question? Let us know - we're here to help.

Send us your migration concern

Other countries

Email and phone
Phone only
Social Media - please specify website (ex: Facebook, Google Plus, etc.) and account name

We need to make sure that you're human. What is 3 plus 5?

ICEF logoPIER logoANZCHAM logoBritish Council logo