Qatar’s needs are for more skilled and professional workers, Baldoz said, as she urges OFWs to train
Qatar may need 100,000 to 150,000 overseas Filipino workers until 2022 when it hosts the FIFA World Cup, but these will be more in skilled and professional field.
“We at the DOLE don’t advise the untrained, unskilled, or even the domestic Filipino workers, and other related vulnerable workers to try their luck in Qatar, or anywhere else. We urge them to get qualified by continuous training, so they can command better pay,” said Baldoz yesterday after she received a labor market information report from Doha-based Labor Attache Leopoldo de Jesus.
“Better yet, get certified first through our national certification system being administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. I also encourage our workers to obtain sufficient experience before going abroad because the possession of such—as well as the necessary skills—ensure added protection,” she said, noting that overseas employers require a minimum of two years of experience for migrant workers.
In his report, de Jesus said the growth in demand for migrant workers in Qatar will be triggered by the Qatari government’s huge investment in infrastructure development as part of its massive preparation for the official hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“These would include projects for transport, road development and sewerage, and real estate development. This growth will be fuelled also by energy sector-related projects,” de Jesus said. Qatar is one of the world’s leading producers of natural gas.
According to de Jesus’ report, Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup places Qatar’s public and private expenditure to hover around US$125 billion and an estimated need for a million overseas workers.
Given Qatar’s huge development projects, it would need 100,000 to 150,000 OFWs if the current labor market share of Filipino workers is sustained,” said Baldoz who, in November last year met with Qatari Social Affairs and Labor Minister Mohammad Al Khulaifi to discuss bilateral labor issues between the Philippines and Qatar. It was Minister Khulaifi who informed Secretary Baldoz that Qatar is overhauling its healthcare system and consequently, building more hospitals and other health care facilities. According to the labor and employment chief, the increase in demand would be for various job categories, such as engineers, architects, master electricians, tile setters, technicians, operators, nurses, doctors, dentists, hotel and resort workers, carpenters, accountants, service crew for food and coffee shops, waiters and waitresses, heavy equipment drivers and mechanics, and safety officers. Labor Attache de jesus reported that of the 19 new health care enters to be built, six are already being constructed.
“Thus, more healthcare professionals are being hired to meet Qatar’s healthcare target of reaching out to more people when the population is expected to rise by more than 30 percent. In fact, the Supreme Council of Health is now recruiting staff nurses and dental assistants from the Philippines,” he said.
Qatar, de Jesus further reported, plans a US$40 billion national integrated rail network together with a new US$11 billion airport and US$5.5 billion deep-water seaport.
“The railway project alone will employ 20,000-35,000 workers. The Hamad International Airport is now completed, but service crews, such as cleaners, are still needed for airport facilities. The Red Line phase of the Metro rail has been awarded and construction is ongoing. The accommodation for the workers, built on international standards, has just been inaugurated. It could house around 3,000 workers according to its camp manager,” de Jesus said.
He also said the Qatar Tourism Authority has been reported to invest US$20 billion in tourism infrastructure development, with the budget going to the construction of 45,000 additional hotel rooms to ensure that it meets the FIFA’s room capacity requirement of 60,000 rooms.
He further said Qatar’s Public Works Authority will invest US$30 billion in buildings and infrastructure projects in the next 5-7 years. These include a crossway which links Hamad International Airport to West Bay; the Lusail Expressway; drainage and sewerage projects, 216 roads, 240 major intersections, 120 public buildings, including hospitals, educational institutions, municipality buildings, and religious endowment projects.
Qatar’s US$4 billion stadium-building program will see the construction of nine new eco-friendly, cutting-edge football fields and the expansion of three existing stadia.
“Meanwhile, the country is now seen as the top IT market in the Gulf Cooperation Council region until 2017. With its booming economy and ambitious ICT investment, it is expected to be the fastest-growing IT market in the Gulf,” he said, adding: “The Grand Mall of Qatar is set to open this year. It will need sales assistants, service crew, and security guards, and maintenance crew.”