Why Filipinos are flocking to Dubai again

Filipinos are returning to the UAE in large numbers, the country’s Consulate in Dubai says, with figures for the past three months showing almost a 200 per cent increase in activity.

“Yes, we have seen an upsurge in the number of Filipinos here in the UAE and especially in Dubai. This is a good sign and an indication that the UAE economy is recovering and growing strong,” says Frank R Cimafranca, Consul General, Consulate General of the Philippines.

According to him the number of applications for passport renewals and similar activity at the consulate in Dubai itself has increased by about 200 per cent since December 2012.

“These are signs that the employment opportunity in the UAE and especially in Dubai is growing. There is a demand for more manpower and, fortunately, our nationals are the ones who are benefited,” he says.

The UAE, he says, has become the most preferred country in the GCC and the Middle East for Philippines nationals travelling abroad for employment.

“This country provides a safe and vibrant lifestyle which is unique,” he says. “Coming from Hague, I feel very much at home here,” he added. Cimafranca took charge at the Consulate six months ago after spending almost a decade in Europe.

Cimafranca also stressed that his government has put in place fool-proof regulations to ensure minimum wages to all overseas workers. “However, we are more stringent when it comes to the employment contracts of housemaids and unskilled workers, especially because they are the most vulnerable. The basic minimum salary for housemaids is set at $400 and it is mandatory,” he said.

According to him, the government does not interfere much with the contracts of skilled and semi-skilled workforce.

“These people are educated and can voice their opinion. Although we try to regulate all contracts when an employee is hired from Philippines, there are many who come here on visit and seek employment. There is nothing much we can do in such cases,” he added.

Commenting on the trade relations between both the countries he says, “Currently there is a trade deficit in favour of the UAE. We are trying to bring in more foreign investment, especially into tourism and infrastructure development,” says Cimafranca.

According to him there has been a 16 per cent increase in the number of tourists arriving from GCC into Philippines. “From the UAE alone, we have had a 10 per cent increase in tourist visitors to the Philippines. With the introduction of two additional airlines that are expected to start services to the UAE during the coming months, you will see a dramatic increase in numbers,” he says.

Philippines Airlines will start operations to Abu Dhabi in October and within a week, Cebu Pacific will start its operations to Dubai, making it the budget airline’s first long haul destination.

“We are going to become even more aggressive in promoting tourism. There is a new strategy that we are going to put in place. There is a major potential for growth in business and trading relations between the countries,” he said.


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