The Department of Labor and Employment predicts the loss of over One Million OFWS jobs by 2021 with over 500,000 jobs by the end of this year.
This grim prediction by the DOLE will have a devastating effect on over 1,200 land and sea-based licensed recruitment and manning agencies with over Fifty percent (50) of the existing agencies not expected to survive the next few months according to recruitment consultant and migration expert Emmanuel Geslani as deployment so far as gone down by 99.8%f or 2020.
In a virtual hearing with the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, POEA Administrator Atty. Bernard Olalia disclosed that only 47 new hires land-based workers and 362 seafarers were deployed so far this year aside from 1,000 Balik-Mangagawas medical personnel.
The deployment of Filipino workers abroad, both new hires and rehires, has decreased by over 99% amid the COVID-19 pandemic according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
Deployment of Filipino workers abroad has gone down to 476,289 in 2019—a 34.9% decrease from 2018 731,551..
Lower-for-longer oil prices and the economic recession even in the more successful Gulf countries means less foreign workers in the future.
In contrast to past oil price downwards cycles, the coronavirus-induced economic crisis will have a lasting effect on the Gulf economies. The oil price depression will be lower for longer.
The pandemic has triggered mass lockdown of many countries in the world especially in the Middle East where majority of our OWS are working with 250,000 displaced OFWS now ready to return home.
Geslani see no positive developments for any major deployment this yea this year except for health workers and there is no silver lining in the future for the overseas recruitment industry. New markets in Europe are still in lockdown and even Japan which is our newest market has closed it’s borders to 111 countries including the Philippines.
The Recruitment Industry and collateral business employs hundreds of l thousand employees with the severe lack of business for the past months and for the foreseeable future will mean the closure of the small and medium size agencies whose deployment is less than 200 a year. Even those agencies deploying thousands of OFWs and HSWs will be forced to cut back on the number of employees and may even have to close their provincial branches depriving additional personnel in the thousands decent jobs for their families.
The deployment of OFWs is a multi-billion dollar business dollars which include the $35 Billion yearly OFW remittance and another $30 Billion yearly income of the agencies both land and sea based from their principals .
The business of the industry also feeds $ 10 billion dollars to travel agencies, medical clinics, trade testing, real estate rentals, airline travel, passports, OWWA fees,,, SSS, PAGIBIG, PHILHEALTH, PDOS,, NBI, PRC, NSO, LTO,
POEA which regulates the recruitment industry may have to down-size due to the lack of job orders and OWWA too will suffer loss of income from the $ 25 dollars fee collected from new and re-hires in the coming months.
The sea-based industry will lose more than 150,000 seafarers this year with major cruise lines not cruising till late August or even September. More than 80,000 cruise ship members are expected to return home jobless for the next few months or even years. More than one-half have returned to the country and more are expected in the coming months.
The slow down of the world economy will affect general shipping and many cargo or container ships may have to lay up for lack of business and sending our seafarers back home too.