Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most diverse, multi-cultural nations. It houses millions of people within its generous borders, people from all races, ethnicities, and skin colors. People worldwide choose to go and work for the Kingdom because of better employment opportunities and pay grades.
Like many others, a large number of Filipino workers, too, travel across the seas to try their luck in this golden place of endless opportunities.
Saudi Arabia does everything it can within its power to look out for the foreign workers working in the state. However, the Philippines Embassy based in Riyadh has its own office for taking care of its overseas employees.
This is called the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and works in close association with the Philippines embassy. This article has collected basic information on the embassy and the POLO and what services they offer.
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The Philippines Embassy
The Philippines Embassy is a representation of the Filipino people, the nation in itself. Any passport-related issues, marriage reports, or anything related to the country must be informed here.
The embassy keeps tabs on its people and monitors things going on in Saudi Arabia with and for its people. Moreover, any documentation that goes forth can only proceed through the embassy.
This includes marriage certificates, job letters, visa and passport applications, notaries, and clearances—all in all, all the regular embassy staff.
Since the Philippines Embassy is in one of the capital cities of Saudi Arabia, it is easily accessible to most people. Its location is strategic since most of the Filipino community lives in Riyadh.
Services provided by the Philippines Embassy
The services that the embassy offers are the usual embassy services often seen. Some of these include:
- Voter’s registration
- Civil registry primarily as in certificates for birth, death, and marriage
- Visa services to foreign nationals
- Passport application, as well as extension, renewal, and replacement
- Special power of attorney (SPA) on behalf of people who may not be in the country
- Retention or reacquisition of Philippine citizenship
These are some of the services that the Philippines Embassy provides to its nationals. It is also open to foreigners who may wish to visit the Philippines and hence require a visa. The services are relatively efficient and diligently fulfilled.
Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO)
The Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO) has been around for quite a while. It serves as the internationally operating arm of the Department of Labor Employment (DOLE), an organization in the Philippines.
It works on implementing labor policies for its people globally, with programs to help make this possible. The cherry on top is the elegant way it dedicates itself to protecting the rights and welfare of the Filipino community working abroad.
There are 34 POLO offices worldwide, with 13 in the Middle East itself. In other words, this shows the region’s popularity as a Filipino hotspot. Consequently, over a million Filipinos operate in Saudi Arabia alone, and those statistics are something.
Services provided by POLO
As highlighted before, this agency is determined to protect Filipino workers globally. The office in Riyadh operates from 8 AM to 5 PM local time and is ever available to laborers struggling with problems.
The critical functions of this body are:
- The protection of rights and privileges of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)
- The promotion of the welfare of the OFWs
- The verification of job-related documents and employment contracts
- The constant monitoring of policies in the host country that may affect OFWs
- The socio-cultural engagement in activities held by the Philippines government or host country to promote social well-being and unity
- The networking of the Filipino community, in addition to social contacts
- The issuance of an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for travel requirements
POLO will take complaints and, meanwhile, follow up on them religiously. You can put in a word if you are facing harassment at work, targeted, have salary complaints, or any hate crime that is putting your documents or employment at risk.
POLO also takes responsibility by looking over all contracts and employment documents before sending its people, ensuring that the employer will take good care of them.
Transient travel ban on Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia
The travel ban placed by the Saudi government in Feb 2021 for overseas workers included Filipino workers (OFWs). Many were stranded outside the Kingdom, with no jobs, unable to get back to their work lives. Moreover, anyone traveling was expected to undergo an institutional quarantine that was somewhere around SR 3500 and hence awfully expensive.
Fortunately, the DOLE communicated via POLO with the Saudi government, and the ban was lifted near the end of May 2021. It did take a while but came through eventually. Above all, this shows us the importance of having a foreign office that works to uphold the rights of the labor community.
How to contact the Philippines Embassy
This embassy is on one of the busiest streets of Riyadh. For instance, it is on Ummayah Abu As-Salat Street in the Diplomatic Quarter. Working days begin from Sunday, all the way to Thursday, from 8 AM to 5 PM.
The telephone number of the embassy is (0096611) 482-3559.
You can visit the official embassy website for more information.
How to contact the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO)
The POLO office in Riyadh was recently shifted to a new building. Hence, you can now visit it in the West Umul Hamam District at No. 5, Dr. Ahmad Suhair Properties.
The telephone number(s) of the POLO office are:
You can also visit the secure website of POLO for more information.
The Philippines government has certainly undertaken a significant step to ensure the safety and protection of their people. They can do this anywhere around the world. Work may sometimes be a challenging aspect of life, especially when it is in a foreign state.
The embassy and the POLO are working hand in hand to make the experience pleasant for their people. In short, Filipinos have put a whole new meaning to work-life balance, and that is sure to impress!