More than 20,000 Filipino workers are set to leave the Philippines and return to Kuwait after the signing of a new labor pact. On Monday Emmanuel Geslani, a recruitment and migration expert, said about 15,000 Filipino workers were able to renew their contracts, but were not able to return to Kuwait due to the deployment ban issued in February, The Manila Standard reported.

Geslani said more than 5,000 skilled Filipino workers were not able to fly to Kuwait due to the deployment ban. Filipinos affected by the deployment ban were nurses, health care workers, factory and construction workers.

Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III said the new agreement would ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of Filipinos in Kuwait. On May 12, the Philippine government announced that the deployment ban would be partly lifted for skilled workers and semi-skilled workers.

According to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, there are more than 180,000 Filipinos working in Kuwait, 60% of them domestic workers.

Read: Manila signs pact on workers, partly lifts ban on Kuwait