Being an OFW in Saudi – Advantages and Disadvantages

Being an OFW in Saudi – Advantages and Disadvantages. How to find jobs in Saudi Arabia? Are you one of the millions of Filipinos who wish and dream to work in Saudi Arabia to seek green pasture? Know the benefits of being an OFW in Saudi and the Middle East. The pay and salary are awesome but then what are the advantages and disadvantages of getting a job employment in Saudi? Know them before going abroad.

To be an OFW is never an easy thing. Honestly, I stumbled in theorizing how to start writing this article for the first time in my life.

From a young age, I’ve witnessed a lot of Filipino workers abroad who’ve been through a lof of sacrifices for the betterment of their lives. Behind all the prestige and reputation they get from people way back home, lies an adversity and misfortune that they keep on surpassing because of great effort and perseverance in what they do for the benefit of many loved ones.

For an unmarried man or woman, except for those who are not handling heavy responsibilities, financial problems could be somehow manageable. But for those who are into marriage and belongs in a big family, it’s another story around.

The accountability could be really tough. I am not an OFW, not an expert either. But I am well aware with the pros and cons of OFW working in Saudi Arabia. I should tell you, it should be a provocation for you to consider this article. Why? Because it will serve as your guide and will broaden your understanding regarding of what’s waiting ahead if you’re aspiring to work there or you can even share it to your friends just to give them a snapshot.

Being an OFW in Saudi

Moving on to the matter, working abroad has a lot of joys and challenges and has been one of the imperative issues our nation is facing today. It has been an issue because everybody thinks going abroad is the only solution to poverty and hunger.

Many Filipinos believe that the way to improve one’s economic status is to work abroad which often leads them to misconception. Although there are better opportunities there, it shouldn’t be the main solution.

In my own point of view, going abroad isn’t the only way. Anyone can be a successful person, in his/her career, by focusing on his/her area of expertise, also depending on his effort, perseverance, right strategies and educational background.

Despite of the high salary and better benefits abroad, there are also security issues and uncertainties that we have to consider along the way before we jump into a final decision of flying away from the country we originally live in.

And please be reminded that life abroad can be really rewarding but do consider its consequences. The verifiable naked truth is that the advantages we get from working in this kingdom, are those same credits we get from working in any other countries. Culture and traditions only makes the difference.

Advantages and Benefits of Working in Saudi


Have you ever been an OFW? If yes, you might just figure out what I’m going to break out. If you haven’t tried to work abroad, then it’s advisable for you to continue reading this article.

The feeling of being able to comply with the government’s requirements, going through a grueling and intense process for your application and eventually getting hired in the end, and know that you’re qualified to work abroad, is a big accomplishment every individual can be proud of, no matter what position is waiting for you out there.

People will never ask if you’re successful afterwards or not. The fact that you made it, gives you a prestige. It leads you to fame because people will look at you as a bank full of cash, though not everyone thinks this way.

being ofw in saudi advantages and disadvantages

When you see an OFW, you usually think that person has surpassed poverty already, although you’d never know. To wrap it up, this prestige gives you an exciting feeling and increases your self-esteem.

Economic financial benefits

Life here will be very different to what you were used to back home, but that’s not to say it can’t be fulfilling and prosperous. Your pay will be largely tax-free and you will also enjoy benefits including healthcare, housing allowances, paid holidays and educational support.

Since 2000, a lot of OFWs are deciding to take their family from Philippines and bring them to Saudi Arabia because of the benefits offered. Most of the families are enjoying their stay in KSA because life there, beyond any doubt, is very convenient. The climactic and atmospheric conditions are not big issues since they can just stay at home during rain of ice or sand storm.  The weather may suck sometimes, but believe me, this country is one of the best home for every family.

Work Experience

This is worth to be recognized as well. Every work experience we get, from any places, is always an advantage. You should be grateful for every knowledge that you get from every work that has been entrusted to you. That certain job may not be your source of income for the rest of your life, but it could somehow help you with some other stuffs, who knows?

And plus, if you’re intelligent and lucky enough to be hired in a prestigious position, the company usually provides all the travel expenses so you can bring your family with you in Saudi Arabia, which is one of the outstanding benefits in the kingdom.

It’s so hard to be in those days when you’re sick and all you have beside you are fruits and medicines, no one’s taking care of you. Every Christmas, not everyone has an opportunity to see their families and embrace them. So what usually happens, they spend their Christmas alone.

Forget about the gifts, forget about the lights. That’s why Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia living there for more than 10 years is such a blessing from our almighty God, because not everyone has an opportunity to be in a place where they want to.


Exposure is an ambiguous word so let’s try to specify. You could be exposed to anything when you’re there, both good and bad occurrences. But the best part to get exposed at is their culture and traditions.

It can really be rewarding because it is challenging to be in a place where people and the language is different. Obviously, theirs is a lot different so this gives you another knowledge, something new to learn. Exploring cultures and traditions is highly exciting.

Just to inform you that recruiters are being strict nowadays, because there has been a so-called ‘Saudization’ that resulted from unemployment of many Filipino Overseas Workers. Some are forced to convert to an Islam religion, for the sake of not getting terminated and stay at a particular job they’re in or so they could re-apply again.

If you come to notice, there are many newspapers with job offers from Saudi Arabia, that says only Muslim can apply. But I believe, we should take a look at the other side of the story. The truth is, there are numerous jobs that either require skills they do not have or are type of works that Saudis will not do especially physically stressing jobs. So they will still probably hire some Filipino people. But in terms of religion, they’d choose Muslims and overlook the rest who are not.

Competition is legitimately fierce, but there’s no reason to give up. If the job is for you, it is meant to be yours.

I know a lot of people are already given an idea that every person who applies for a residence visa in this kingdom gets issued an iqama (pronounced “ih-gaa-muh”), which is the equivalent of a national passport. You should never leave it at home.

‘m sure we all know that women in Saudi Arabia are required to wear their abaya, whenever they’re staying outdoors. The abaya is the floor length long sleeve garment that all women in Saudi must wear when out in public. The Muslim women in Saudi must also wear a headscarf, no exceptions when it comes to women.

If you’re a woman, at least 14 of age, be careful of not wearing your headscarf because the “Mutawwah”, the religious police, will always ask you to cover your head. Some are too stubborn because they still take their head cover off when the officers are gone. And to tell you more of what it’s like to be in there, all restaurants have two sections; a single males section and a family section.

They’re very strict with women, even in driving, they are not allowed to do it. It’s so sad to say that most of them can’t fight for their rights, because that’s how it is in this kingdom, that’s a part of their cultures and traditions.

In Saudi, however, when prayer time comes, the entire economy comes to a screeching halt! Stores close, restaurants shut their doors, and things come to a complete stop until the prayers are over.

Considering this happens 5 times a day, you can imagine how much of a hassle that becomes! So, these are just some of the issues you have to be informed about, regarding their cultures and traditions with a combination of their rules and regulations, although I did not mention everything.

Disadvantages of OFW Working in Saudi Arabia

Let’s go to through the matter and tackle about its opposite side, the disadvantages.

Unfinished Contract

This doesn’t only happen for OFW in Saudi Arabia but to every part of the country where there are OFWs. I mentioned it because a lot of applicants don’t usually prepare themselves for this kind of situation. It’s time to uncover it.

Surely, not seeing your family for a very long time can put you in a very depressing situation. The good thing is, instead of seeing this are negatively, they don’t mind these absences because they see it as a necessary sacrifice to support the education of their children.

Culture Shock

Usually, when you’re new to a place, this happens. And it’s normal. Don’t get nervous because whatever happens, you’ll get used to it. The place may seem new and mysterious, but once you remind yourself why you’re there, it might be because of your family, you’ll feel inspired, enjoy and last longer in that place no matter what obstacles are ahead.

Make friends and familiarize yourself until you get used to it. Saudi Arabia may look like a boring place, but a lot of adventures are waiting for you.

Discrimination in some ways

Usually, this happens in terms of wages and other social security benefits. And I’m not saying Arabs are discriminating Filipinos. It’s just so obvious when it comes to job positions, they give us less opportunities and offers low paid jobs while they give more to their co-Arabs, which is normal because they’re the real citizens there.

Life in Saudi is different and often demanding, but if you have an open mind and are flexible to other cultures and their requirements, many people live and work in the kingdom for many years, traveling all over the world and banking large sums of tax-free income.

If these things are not showstoppers and the current war on terrorism situation there doesn’t bother you, then life in Saudi can be a very interesting and rewarding overseas place to live. Overall, the pros and cons would be no worry to you.


Although this is not so felt now because of Facebook and Skype, still we can’t avoid the fact of the long distance longing thing.

She calls herself 'The Skywriter'. She is adventurous, competitive, creative and talented who finds writing and traveling both charismatic and irresistible. Cate is also into fashion, music and photography. She looks up to Nicholas Sparks, an International Screenwriter and Best-Selling Author.

47 thoughts on “Being an OFW in Saudi – Advantages and Disadvantages”

  1. Anu po ang pedeng gawin if ung position na inaplayan ko sa saudi eh hindi natupad o kung ung salary na dapat eh matupad sa contract eh binago at pinapi-pirmahan ako ng bagong contrata na merong medyo mababang salary kesa nung una?

  2. Hi there,

    This is my first time to go abroad especially, in KSA Medina. I just graduated in college in Cebu and try to income for a better salary in KSA. I already search the laws and regulations in Saudi Arabia and it appears a lot of question in my mind.

    Here are some questions that raised in my mind:

    1. In Medina, It says that if you are not a Muslim then you are not allowed to enter the City. However, I will be assigned in that City as a waiter in Medina (Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz International Airport) but I am not a Muslim. Is it at risk or everything will be alright?

    2. I am planning to study in Medina Saudi Arabia. Is there any schools for Filipino People? How much and What Schools can you recommend me in Medina Exactly?

    3. If ever my contract will be end, Is it possible for me to apply for another companies in Medina and much related to my Course? I am an IT graduate but I don’t have experience as an IT graduate yet. Data Entry would be great and other IT related would be better.

    I am hoping to received a satisfactory answers from experienced people.


    R L

    • Hello Rogelio Lozano,

      It is impossible for you to study in Saudi. If your contract is ended, you have to go back to the Philippines and apply for another contract.

      I feel sorry for you. You’re IT graduate and you opted out to work as a waiter in Saudi. You could earn a lot of money in Philippines as IT professionals. Saudi is not a better place for you. I been working in Medinah Saudi Arabia for two years contract but unfortunately, My life goes to hell.

      Saudi is not good place for you to earn money. Why not practice your profession in Philippines? build your own company and managed them?

      Brotherly advice, Saudi is not a better place for you.

  3. Musta Po ask ko Lang Po kung ilang Araw Ang procesing ng iqama sa saudi kc husband ko nagwork dun Nung june 2016 gang ngayung mag August na Wala pa syang iqama natatakut po ako baka maisip nyang nagpaconvert dun kc mga kawork nya nagpaconvert na eh,.

  4. Hello po ask kulang sana yung sister ko po kc nag work sa riyahd for almost 1yr kasambahay po cia then yung employer nia gusto ciang mag pa convert into islam wala pobang problema if ever na magpa convert cia? Your reply will be highly appreciated po .

  5. Hello – does anyone know if a Filipino national has to be in the Philippines to apply for a work visit visa? He will be going to Abu Dhabi for home leave and we wonder if he can apply from there. he has just finished a 90 day multiple entry work visit visa and needs another one. Any information anyone knows about the matter would be very much appreciated.

  6. My husband received a photocopy of his visa dated 12-15-205. The agency to us that they are still waiting for the car insurance of his service in SAUDI,
    Until now there’s still waiting for the insurance..What will happen if the visa expires?would they give my husband’s passport?would the agency pay us for the “danios”?

  7. please help me…..
    i have an application to jeddah Saudi German Hospital, i have 3yrs contract,wat if i decided to not to finish my contract at umuwi na to philippines after two years,makakahingi po ba ako ng COE /exit? plan ko mag work sa canada or other european country..what are the consequences po for unfinished contract? will i be ban for this countryREALLY APPRECIATE ANY FEEDBACK..THANKZ A LOT

    • No you wouldn’t be ban from the country itself but for the company maybe.. the consequences is just that you may have to pay for your own expenses in going back home.

    • I would suggest you to go back and review the copy of your contract because i believe all the terms and conditions/agreement between the first party(Employer) and the second party(Employee) are clearly defined there. But usually it will always depend on your employer, because as far as i know there have been lots of OFW who were in the same situation like yours but they managed to leave the kingdom without any hassle, you may also talk to your boss if they can consider your situation,

    • How is it working in saudi german hospital? Now that its almost a year since you wrote this post, can you share any feedback on the management of the hospital? They hvae current openings right now for the hail branch and they are recruiting massively… please share your insights because according ot their agency here , for the three year contract, one can only spend vacation back to pinas AFTER two years.. i am a bkut hesitant on this , do they normally vacation if the employee is only with them for a year? How feasible is this with the kind of management/HR they have? Thank you for ypur input!!

  8. Paalis na rin po ako papuntang Saudi Arabia hinihintay ko na lang ang aking original na contract sabi ng agency ko.. Sabi ng agency ko na ABC Manpower Co. Inc. ang gagamitin daw na visa ko ay DH pero promise daw nila na cut and sew of dress ang work ko do on.Ang tanong ko po ay , mag kano ba talaga ang sweldo ng cut and sew sa KSA? Salamat po.God bless.

  9. Hi i just want to ask with regards to live out process in Riyadh. My husband was already there and working in al fouzan and i will follow to work there as a nurse in al ajaji since we are just married 2 months ago before he left Philippines my passport is still in single status and i process already the authentication of our marriage certificate in pinas and stamp in saudi embassy for me to bring in Riyadh. Is this enough proof for us to see each other and if so live together even we have different employers? I just want to know what to do because we are planning to rent a couple apartment so we can stay there even during days off to have a quality time as newly married couple.. May i know the requirements and process so we can do it. Thanks

  10. Good day…
    Im rhey first timer po to go abroad in saudi al gassim my position is giftwrapping clerk…. peakman po agency ko… tanungkolang po ok. Po ba sa lugar nayun? Kinakabahan po kasiako e… ready visa nadaw totoo bayung ganun ready visa agad.

    • Hi Rhey. nasa al gassim ka na ba? inquire ko lang din kung kamusta mga pakikisama nila jan kasi likewise, first time to be there. gaano kalayo from airport ang lugar? ready visa nga din.

  11. Matagal napo akong ofw rito sa ksa.more or less30 yesrs na at present connected papo ako sa mhd.binladin amotor grader operator ano po ba ang mga benifit kung matatanggap in case na mag retire nako oterminate nko ng co.

  12. Hi Sir, ask ko lang paano ba ako maghahanap ng room for rents dito sa Riyadh? May housing allowance po kasi kami pero kami na bahala maghanap.

    • That is easy, try it online/internet or you can go to Batha area there are many room for rent there. Mostly of the Filipinos lived there also.

      • Sir, I have my interview with the employer tomorrow here in the philippines. They are hiring HVAC engr/tech for Riyadh.. for engrs the salary is 5k plus saudi riyals.. is this good enough for an engr?? how much is the modest salary for engrs??? thank you very much

        • If your position in your employment contract is engineer/technician, better check it with your agency if it is ENGINEER or TECHNICIAN. It will be very different if ENGINEER is your position and SR5,000 is too small. Also check if housing and transportation allowance will be covered by your employer, as well as other benefits. SR5,000 in Riyadh will not be enough, except if housing and transpo is covered. Try to negotiate for higher salary – say SR7,500.

        • Hi mr…if you mean 5000 S.R I think it’s very’s rarely in KSA to give this amount ..unlike those big co.they give more ..

  13. Hello,
    We are a Saudi Company looking to Pilipino (Male) workers as following:
    – Hydrolytic Mechanic
    – Deiseal mechanic
    – Truck driver
    – Office worker (accountant helper)
    Interested people, please send me your CV on my email:
    Thank you

  14. Hi po.. Therapist po sa hotel ang inapplyan ko sa Riyadh, Saudi pero room cleaner daw po ang visa nmin. Itutuloy ko p po b ang application ko or backout n lng ako? First timer po ako. Need advice. Thank you!

  15. May kamag anak ako na nag apply sa Saudi. may napirmahan siyang contrata dito sa Pinas bago mag flight at pagdating sa Saudi ay pinapirma ng bagong contrata na masmababa ang sahod. pwede ba niyang habulin ang agency niya dito sa pinas para bayaran ang kulang sa una nyang contrata? Naka isang taon na siya, pls help!

    • If you go through right procedure with POEA rules of documentation, you can file and demand the right salary and benefits written on your original contract

  16. Ofw and each Filipinos should save and try to invest and re invest and be the boss. There are many ways to multiply money but be careful where you put your savings and capital. Idea is money and there is no short cut. I like to call it “Pera sa pera.”
    More tips:

  17. Hello po dh po ako dito s ksa mag iisang taon n ko s feb. 1,2015. ask ko lng kung may karapatan b ako n humingi ng bakasyon pg nka one year nko s amo ko. Like ko sna kz po bakasyon s pinas pagka nkaisang taon nko. Maraming salamat po

    • Hazel,

      Kung legal ang pagta-trabaho mo diyan sa KSA, dapat entitled ka sa isang buwan bakasyon every year with pay. Pero may mga ilang pagkakataon na depende yan sa contract na pinirmahan mo nung nag-apply ka. Nakasulat sa job contract mo kung magkano ang salary at mga benefits mo, At nandun din makikita ang kung kelan ka maaaring magbakasyon.

  18. My age 49 , nationality Saudi (Riyadh).
    I want improve my English especially the conversation.
    Please, if you can help me by any Idea or tutorial ; I will be appreciate.
    Mobil# 0555474810

    • Hi Khalid, you may start learning English by watching English TV shows like CNN, BBC and CNBC. Also, read English newspaper and English articles on the Internet. I’m staying here in Jubail but travel to Riyadh at least once a month. I can do tutorial, please contact me through my email address –

      Good luck!



  20. asa pa kayong makapag-Australia. pumasa muna kayo ng IELTS (6.0 or higher), SKILLS ASSESSMENT, SKILLS SELECT, VISA INVITE AND APPLICATION (140,000 PESOS FEE PER PERSON), MEDICALS, CLEARANCES, ETC. bago kayo makapunta dito. ASA PA KAYO.

  21. How much money I will spend in applying for a job in Canada and Australia. I am very much interested. Need ur asap info. Thank you and more power.

  22. Hi. I want to apply in Canada.but I dont have employer..what can I do.plz help me her now in Taiwan working in a fone company.thank u

  23. I been working in KSA approximately a year(no contract).From my experience working in KSA is good but i’ll feel no freedom to me so I desided abroad to Australia.Frankly speaking i’m not step again in Saudi Arabia…. enough for me.

    • Hi Sam,

      I have offer in KSA. Im not that fully excited to go there knowing the offer is only 2200SAR while im already earning in my current work in the Philippines 18K, not big difference. What i am thinking now is that working in KSA would be a stepping stone to work in other Western country or may be in Europe or in Canada. Is it true that its easier to go to Canada, Australia if you are already in KSA? Please give me some insights..Thanks!

  24. There are millions of OFWs and Filipinos living and working in Saudi Arabia. I know there are more millions out there who wish to know the benefits of working in Saudi and other countries in the Middle East and the consequences too before they apply for a job there. Awesome article from someone from Saudi Arabia! 🙂


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