Russia as new OFW destination? Why not, says DOLE

As the supposed decline in oil prices in the Middle East led to fewer job opportunities for Filipinos in that region, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is now turning its gaze upon other places such as Russia; a country which the Labor chief claimed is currently in need of skilled and professional workers.

In a statement, Labor chief Silvestre H. Bello III said Russia could be an alternative destination for  overseas Filipino workers (OFWs); citing the socialist state’s demand for construction and household service workers.

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He announced this upon noticing “there is a decline in the demand for OFWs in the Middle East.”

“Russia is a good alternative for skilled and professional workers who are looking for high paying jobs,” DOLE’s statement declared.

In explaining the rather unusual move given that Russia is, based on latest government data, an unpopular labor destination for Filipino migrant workers, Bello said that “We have to look for other countries where there are demands for our OFWs.”

Using 2014 data, DOLE stated in the same press release there are only about 4,000 OFWs working in Russia; majority of whom are employed in construction, hotels, and households.

Bello also revealed that among the topics that President Rodrigo R. Duterte will discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin in his state visit to Russia next year include the improvement of labor relations between the two countries.

“I already sent a memo to the President requesting him to include the possible deployment of skilled and professional workers to Russia,” Bello said.

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