Philippines bans its workers from 41 countries

Workers line up at a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration office in Manila on 2 November 2011
Image caption Filipino workers are employed in service, maritime and other industries all over the world

The Philippines has ordered a ban on the deployment of its workers to 41 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq and India.

The government said it had issued the ban because the nations concerned failed to sign agreements protecting foreign workers from abuse.

The Philippines is one of the world's largest labour exporters: nine million Filipinos are currently working abroad.

The economy is heavily reliant on the remittances they send home.

Filipinos will soon be unable to apply for work in 41 countries blacklisted by the Department of Labour.

Some of these are nations with security concerns, like Afghanistan, Libya and Sudan.

Others, like India and Cambodia, have not provided what the government believes is an adequate guarantee that workers will be safe from abuse.

Most of the countries on the list do not actually hire many Philippine nationals, but the government has been under mounting pressure to do more to protect Filipinos who work abroad.

Critics of these new proposals say the ban could actually have the opposite effect - by driving Filipinos to work illegally, with even fewer safeguards than they had before.

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