DOLE lifts deployment ban for OFWs with existing contracts, direct hires to Qatar

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 7) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Wednesday lifted the suspension on Filipino workers bound for Qatar.

The Labor Department, however, said only those with Overseas Employment Certificates, direct hires, and returning workers are allowed to travel to the Arab nation.

This comes a day after it imposed a temporary ban on workers bound for Qatar, after seven Arab states severed diplomatic ties with the tiny oil-rich state over its alleged support for terrorism.

READ: DOLE suspends OFW deployment to Qatar

The DOLE ban stays for those with pending applications and undergoing processing.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said different government agencies are still monitoring the Qatar diplomatic crisis for its possible impact on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

"The DFA, DOLE, OWWA (Overseas Welfare Workers Association), POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration), the Philippine Embassies, and Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLO) in the Gulf Region continue to closely monitor, reassess and coordinate on the situation in the area," it stated.

"In this regard, the Philippine Government clarifies that persons working in or who have urgent business in Qatar are free to return but should observe usual precautions. The Philippine Government continues to process documents for employment in Qatar." it added.

READ: Middle East freezes out Qatar: What you need to know

The department reiterated the government is willing to extend help to those who need it.

"The government renews its call for our Kababayans in the region to exercise prudence given the events of the past days and reiterates its readiness to provide all necessary assistance as it remains committed to safeguarding the welfare of overseas Filipinos in the region," it said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the POLO in Qatar appealed to the Labor Department to lift the OFW ban.

According to the Foreign Affairs Department, some 250,000 Filipinos are working in Qatar as of 2016.