Millions of Filipinos work abroad, risking their lives for the betterment of their families. Some people go abroad without having the assurance of landing a job, while some have the assurance through a job order. Many people consider working as a Household Worker (HSW) abroad and this alone is a big leap in their journey of creating a better living space for their families. But did you know that before applying as a household worker abroad, you need to know a few things to somehow guide you?
In this article, we will be giving you the things you need to consider prior to applying as a household worker in the Middle East or abroad, in general. Although there are plans in strengthening the rights of OFWs, it’s still better for aspiring HSWs to know the following just for them to be prepared.
Before you apply as a household worker abroad, what are the things you need to be aware of?
Uncomfortability is the first step
Upon entering the country you are to be working in, you need to be sure that you have a strong heart. Especially in Middle Eastern countries, be prepared to exhaust yourself 100 percent; be prepared to not eat on time; be prepared to be left out in different holidays and occasions, and so on.
A household worker, especially in countries in the Middle East, would make you feel like you’re the only person you have; you’re far from your family members, you’re thousands of miles away from the people you want to be with. Prepare for homesickness and a lot of loneliness.
Slavery is still an actual thing
Modern-day slavery is common especially for families in the Middle East. As most of us don’t know, some families pay a fortune just to get a domestic helper abroad; they want every penny out of it that’s why you have to follow everything they tell you.
Knowing your limits as a human being is not enough; they will and will force you to do whatever they like. When this happens, make sure you have the correct avenues to where you can report such things.
Being sick is not a reason
Another thing you might want to consider is that being ill is not a reason to be out. When you’re sick, you need to prepare your body for the challenges which might entirely shock your body, completely making you fall sick. In the video below, you’ll see an OFW feeling distressed about the situation she is currently in after she honestly told her employers that she won’t be able to make it to work because she’s feeling ill.
One story of a scenario like this would be a Filipina domestic helper in Saudi Arabia named Honelyn Pequiro. She was three (3) months deployed and reported to her sponsor that she’s feeling kind of under the weather. Unfortunately, her employer still wanted her to work; she pointed out that she was not feeling well and that she won’t be able to work for that day. Her employer told her that they’ll be bringing her to the hospital. What actually happened was a surprise return back home with her employer not giving her anything.
Maltreatment and abuse are normal
Many foreigners, especially Middle Eastern nationals, tend to look at Filipinos as slaves. Therefore, there’s no issue for them to treat us badly. Moreover, they’re not afraid to leave bruises, marks, and scars all over the bodies of their domestic helpers.
An OFW in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was reported to have undergone physical abuse when her employer willingly spilled boiling water on her back and all throughout her body.
Although it’s illegal, officials won’t take your side because you’re from a different race. There have been many stories of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse of our countrymen from their domestic employers. As a matter of fact, there came to a point where employers actually took the lives of domestic helpers through excessive slavery and physical abuse.
Rape and sexual abuse
If you think that this is just all hearsay, then think again. Many foreign employers, especially those in the Western and Middle Eastern part of the globe actually look to Southeast Asians as “sex slaves.” As a matter of fact, a high percentage of these are Filipinas. Why? Because they think that maltreating Filipinas is fine; they think that here in the Philippines, it’s a common act.
If you’re looking forward to being a household worker abroad, you need to always be secure. Find some people you can talk to while you’re there; find friends and other people who can help you should you need assistance for complaints and reporting.
Expect that not everything you hear when you find out about your job is true
Although that contracts are existent, you might have different conditions when you arrive at the country you are to work in. Beware of this and make sure that you read the “new contract” in the event that you get handed down one.
Our country, of course, wants to care for us that’s why they do their best to seek good employers as much as possible. However, that’s not the case especially in Middle Eastern countries. Beware of this and make sure you read everything first before you sign.
Remember, the fact that you’re going to be working abroad means that you’re risking your life for you to put meat on the table. Especially if you’re applying as a household worker abroad, you’re bound to fatigue, stress, and homesickness. Find people who you can communicate with; prepare yourself with complaints and people who you can count on while you’re away.
What if I don’t have any friends or people I can lean on to while I’m away?
There are people who seem to find it difficult to connect with other people. In this case, you can always resort to social media. With social media, you have the power to let the world know what’s happening around you.
Find ways for you to access the Internet every once in a while. If you’re planning to be a household worker abroad, the chances of you gaining access to the Internet is quite big. Why? Because you’ll be in a house with Wi-Fi; if not, however, you can find ways on how you can access it. Not only will it help you have communication with your family back here, it’s also a good platform to where you can report things.
You need to have some kind of a documentation to support your claims especially if you’re planning to have a complaint or a report to your employer.
There have been a lot of issues revolving around household workers being abused abroad, mostly in the Middle East. As a matter of fact, there was even a time period when our dear President banned workers in Kuwait because of an incident that happened.
If ever you’re planning to have a job as a household worker abroad, make sure that you understand all of this. Do not risk your life entirely just for the sake of earning yourself a few thousand pesos per month. Always remember that you have a country, waiting for your return.