Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Warning to all ASPIRING OFW
The rules, which have taken effect since January 15, allow direct hiring of OFWs by foreign employers only upon approval by the Labor Secretary.
The hiring will be subject to screening of employers and employment contract verification by the Labor Attaché or the Philippine Embassy.
Direct hiring may be allowed only for members of the diplomatic corps and of international organizations, government officials of ministerial level, and employers hiring on one-time or trial basis. The number of employees to be hired directly shall not exceed 5.
Employers will also comply with stricter documentation and processing requirements which include the posting a US$5,000 repatriation bond per employee to guarantee the return of the worker or of his remains, in the event of death. They are also required to post a US$3,000 performance bond per employee to guarantee payment of the employee’s salary for the duration of the employment contract. The bonds should be secured from local bonding companies.
They will also provide the employees with health and medical insurance.
Employers who do not want to comply with the bonding and insurance requirements or with the standard employment contract will not be allowed to hire OFWs directly.
They, however, may hire via licensed placement agencies which are willing to assume responsibilities over the employees, including payment of salaries and other employment benefits.
Labor Secretary Arturo Brion, also concurrent POEA Board Chairman, said the adoption of a stricter policy on direct hires is aimed at strengthening the protection of the OFWs.
OFWs with employment contracts and work visas issued after January 15 will be covered by the new guidelines. The new guidelines for direct hiring are posted at the POEA website (www.poea.gov.ph).
Tougher rules for Filipino professionals working overseas
By Alastair McIndoe, PHILIPPINES CORRESPONDENT
MANILA - TOUGHER rules have been implemented for Filipinos offered work overseas in a move which could affect professionals working in Singapore.
Under the new regulations, Filipinos who have found jobs overseas by themselves - rather than through government-licensed recruitment agencies - have to get clearance from the authorities in the Philippines before they can go.
What is more, their overseas employers need to get permission to hire them from the labour attaches of the Philippine embassies in their countries.
Employers also need to post bonds totalling US$8,000 (S$11,500) to guarantee salary payments and to cover the cost of sending home the body of an employee in the event of his death.
Filipinos already working overseas are not affected by the new rules, which took effect on Jan15.
The regulations add a second layer of red tape to already bureaucratic procedures for those who want to work overseas.
Even before the new rules, all Filipinos heading overseas to work - either as direct hires or via licensed recruitment agencies - had to register with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) before leaving.
This will not change.
Workers given the go-ahead to take up overseas posts will still have to register with the POEA - a process often involving long waits and red tape which rankles many of the highly-skilled Filipino professionals, such as academics, corporate executives and scientists, who find themselves a new post abroad.
Filipino nurses working in Singapore would likely be recruited through accredited agencies and not affected by the rules.
In the case of Filipino domestic workers in Singapore, many have, for a long time now, been able to circumvent the POEA registration procedures by arriving as tourists and finding employment through local recruitment agencies. The new rules are unlikely to change that situation.
Though the new rules prescribe no penalties, direct hires who do not have clearance now run the risk - as do all so-called 'undocumented' Filipinos heading overseas to work - of being caught by airport immigration officials and not allowed to leave the country until their paperwork is in order.
A check with Philippine embassy officials in Singapore and other agencies drew a blank on the new rules and how it affected Filipinos in Singapore.
Official Link of the memorandum