By Neha Bhatia
Officials from the Philippines' state education departments will meet with their Qatari counterparts to discuss the legislation
Officials from the Philippines' state education departments will meet with their Qatari counterparts to discuss a law which threatens the jobs of up to 12,000 Filipino engineers and architects in the Gulf state.
Discussions will focus on Qatar's strict implementation of a law which requires all expat professionals in the country to register their education and work experiences with the government's Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA).
According to Rosalinda Baldoz, labour secretary for the Philippines, Pinoy workers in the country are "unfortunately unable to do so" due to the Qatari Supreme Education Council's requirement of 12 years of basic education, or 16 years of education for registration.
Qatar's government had set 31 January as the deadline for registration with the UPDA.
The Philippines will be represented by Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) at the meeting.
Baldoz said she is confident the issue will be resolved following the discussion with Qatari officials.
"Qatari employers, based on information that has reached me, are open and supportive of the Filipino professionals’ request,” Baldoz said, according to GMA News.
"The Supreme Education Council considers the 12-year basic education program as equivalent to a high school diploma.
"As such, Filipino engineers could not register with the UPDA because all of them underwent only 10 years of basic education, and the Qatari authorities have only issued a two-year diploma equivalency for engineering degrees earned in Philippine higher education institutions (HEIs),” Baldoz continued.
Engineers and other professionals cannot work in Qatar if they are unable to register with UPDA.
"In short,12,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) engineers could possibly be displaced from their jobs,” she said.
However, she was quick to assure that OFW engineers, who are working in between 20% and 30% of Qatar's construction consultancy firms, will not be easily displaced.
This, she added, is because "Qatari authorities, as well as employers, have expressed openness to the full equivalency of the educational qualifications and relevant work experience of Filipino engineers".