320 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) on board an aircraft left Kuwait on 28 June, which kicked off the initial chartered flight bound to the Philippines. Nine additional flights followed with more than 3,000 Filipinos and more are expected to leave in coming months.
Paulita Lundang, a travel agent, who initiated the chartered flight in cooperation with the Embassy of the Philippines said that the tenth chartered flight organized by another local travel agency left on 16 August with three hundred and twenty passengers on board, many of whom are regular passengers and not from any local institutions such as Public Authority for Manpower, Embassy Shelter and Deportation Sector.
Many Filipino workers in Kuwait opted to send their families home and heads of families remain in the country to continue working. “My wife lost her job and I have two children, we decided to send them home to continue their education and find job opportunities in other countries,” said Allan, a clinic receptionist. 30,000 OFWs deployed in Kuwait have suffered from a no work no pay situation during the lockdown period and about 10,000 more are still out of job at the moment, paid 50% salaries or terminated from their jobs due to closure of companies operating on smaller scales.
A certain percentage also belong to contract visas and other similar deployment scopes. “We have been advised that our contract has been terminated and prepare to leave the country within the coming months,” added Miriam, a technical staff for a contracting company. Among those recently affected are assistant school teachers whose places of work have decided to stop operations due to shortage if not no enrollees in coming school year. Workers who belong to small companies holding a different type of Visa 18 intended for smaller operations are finding it difficult to transfer to regular Visa 18.
Among other factors include workers who are being offered lower wages. Due to sudden influx of available workers in the country, employers are now taking advantage of offering smaller scale salaries in exchange for chance to be able to still work in Kuwait. These salaries are and can be earned in the Philippines. “I had to borrow money to finance my trip home, with the difficulty of finding a good paying job right now is not just possible, so I opted to leave and work in the Philippines, with little difference in the salary I’ll settle for home and for good,” stated John, a barista in a chain of coffee shops.
Lundang explained that more chartered flights to Philippines are now being organized to accommodate OFWs who wish to return home. Another flight is scheduled on the 30 August and for further details, call: 66738799 (Paulita Lundang)0