Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) deployment to Qatar is seen to increase by 2021 as the country plans to begin its vaccination drive against the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) within weeks.
Labor Attache for Qatar David Dicang said in a press briefing that OFWs may be included in the immunization plan of the Qatari government for all the people within its jurisdiction.
The Qatari government was able to secure its first shipment of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine which will be first administered to elderly people, those with chronic diseases, and the frontline health workers.
It is expected to start its free vaccination drive for the general population, including OFWs, within its jurisdiction by next month. The vaccination, however not mandatory, is encouraged by the government.
The people in Qatar are expected to avail themselves of the benefit since airlines, hotels and stadiums in the country may require their clients to be first vaccinated for Covid-19 before being allowed entry.
Dicang further noted confidence the vaccination can restore customer confidence in Qatar, allowing more business to expand their pandemic-stricken operations.
Filipino health workers and those who are employed in the hospitality sector are still in high demand in Qatar, despite the pandemic. Dicang, however, admits that the employment of some 26,000 OFWs are affected by the disease.
Of the Covid-affected OFWs, he said 15,000 were already given the one-time P10,000 cash aid through the DOLE’s Abot Kamay Ang Pagtulong for OFWs (Akap) program.
Most or 17,000 of the OFWs, Dicang said, opted to remain in Qatar despite the economic uncertainty. The DOLE-Akap assistance is crucial for their stay in Qatar as they hope to gain stable employment the soonest time possible.
There are currently, 260,000 OFWs in Qatar. Most or 90,000 of them are employed as household service workers (HSW).