The number of Philippine citizens working in the UAE is set to increase significantly in the next few months after the travel ban between the two countries was lifted on Monday.
Recruiters and experts in the hospitality sector said they were expecting an influx of applications from Filipinos looking for work.
Naim Maadad, chief executive of Gates Hospitality, said the reopening of flights meant employers in the sector would have greater access to quality staff.
“The hospitality industry has heavily relied on markets such as the Philippines to fuel the sector and add to the rich tapestry of cultures we have in the Middle East,” he said.
“Highlights such as fluency in the English language, experience in the sector, generally bubbly personalities and the maturity of the industry in primary cities have put countries like the Philippines at the forefront of recruitment in the hospitality field.
“I am delighted with the news [of the travel ban being lifted] and hope this is a step in the right direction to reopen the skies, fuel economies and rise back to life as we know it best.”
Staff can return home
Filipina Lourds Adalia-Evertse, a mother of two, is the managing partner at Spice Grill in Sharjah.
She said with flights open between the UAE and Philippines, staff based here could return home to see loved ones.
“With countries starting to ease restrictions, like the Philippines, it is good news for us at Spice Grill as I can look to hire staff coming from my home country,” she said.
“With the winter season approaching, we normally need additional staff to cater for bigger crowds.
“In the same breath, our current staff can also take annual leave and spend time with their families back home. Due to the pandemic, they have not been able to go home for more than 18 months.”
Lynne McGarvey, director of HR at Media One Hotel, said they were looking forward to welcoming Filipino recruits to Dubai, as well offering current staff the opportunity to travel home for a break.
"We are also happy with the fact that our employees can now go home to see their families, which has been challenging over the last couple of months. This is great news for not only our hotel but also the hospitality industry and job market in the city," she said.
Hotels with easy access to Expo 2020 Dubai
The Philippines government placed a ban on travel in and out of the Emirates in April, citing concerns about the highly infectious Delta variant.
Bookings for flights to and from the Philippines have soared since the ban was lifted, with travel agents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai receiving double the normal number of flight inquiries.
Since opening Allsopp & Allsopp recruitment services six months ago, Kameron Hutchinson, director of recruitment, said they had at least “two support positions available each month” where clients require executive assistants, personal assistants or administration staff.
On average, there are 275 applications per job post.
“With borders opening up again, there will be even more candidates providing employers with more choice, which in principle sounds great, but it will only highlight the need to search, select and shortlist the very best talent,” said Mr Hutchinson.
“The borders opening will also make the competition greater and stronger for those already looking for such roles.
“I would highly recommend candidates refresh their CVs and brush up on their interview skills to have a chance of standing out when applying for these positions.”
Last month, the UAE government announced that hotels could run at 100 per cent occupancy.
As a result, job openings at large hotel chains and boutique properties started to appear on employment websites, as hotels looked to re-hire to prepare for the winter rush.
When The National called a number of hotel properties this week, some managers said most of the hiring was taking place locally due to visa and travel restrictions.
But they said as travel corridors opened up, they would be looking to recruit from their usual markets, including the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.