Philippines blocks workers heading to Qatar

The Philippines has temporarily blocked Filipinos from travelling to Qatar for work as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said the government was concerned about the possible “ripple effects” of the Arab-Qatar rift on its workers abroad. More than 2 million Filipinos are working in the Middle East as domestic helpers

Filipinos working in the Middle East sent home $7.6 billion in remittances in 2016, making the region a major source of foreign exchange inflows which help drive one of Asia’s fastest growing economies.

Labour Secretary Silvestre Bello said the ban would be in place until the government has completed its assessment. “Concerned government agencies are looking at the matter and will extend assistance and other support for OFWs who may be affected by such action,” a government representative said.

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