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DOLE, POEA Failed to Curb Rampant Cases of OFWs Contract Substitution

PRESS RELEASE

An alliance of Filipino migrant workers group in the Middle East today said the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) under the out-going Arroyo administration failed to curb the rampant cases of OFWs contract substitution victimizing thousands of OFWs especially those deployed in the Middle East.

“Cases of contract substitution are still rampant among OFWs deployed in the Middle East; it is about 3 to 5 cases out of the average 7-10 daily cases we have been receiving from troubled OFWs,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional director.

Monterona said despite that plenty of the cases lodge by distress and repatriated OFWs in POEA Adjudication unit are mostly cases of contract substitution and labor malpractices committed by their erring employers, the DoLE-POEA failed to curb it or much less to totally solve the prevailing problem of contract substitution.

“It appears that the employment contract signed by the hired OFW facilitated by its recruitment agency is not been honored by most of the foreign employers as many hired OFWs have been asked or even forced to sign a new contract upon arrival at their job site,” Monterona added.

Monterona revealed that based on the accounts of OFWs victims of contract substitution, their recruitment agency will let them sign a new set of contract, different from the one they have signed during processing of their formalities, upon their departure only to find out that the stipulated salary has been reduced, and other terms and conditions such as medical insurance and housing provision have been omitted.

“Many have told us that they have been forced to sign a new set of contracts before their departure at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, while others said upon their arrival on the job site facilitated by the counterpart agency of the deploying agency in the Philippines,” Monterona revealed.

Monterona added in such a situation, if you are the departing OFW, you will be forced to sign the new employment contract that you have not read fully because you are already departing in an hour or sign it because you have already incurred much opting to proceed for your deployment.

“Contract substitution is made possible in collaboration of recruitment agencies and foreign employers, and that the DoLE-POEA doing nothing about it; it is a mockery of the original employment contract signed by the OFWs while they are still in the Philippines,” Monterona averred.

Monterona added the original employment contract is intended to protect OFWs labor rights as set forth in the terms and conditions of employment, but the moment a new contract with different terms and conditions unfavorable to the OFWs has been forged without the knowledge of the OFWs or by force they have been told to sign it, then it is putting OFWs employment at risks even before their deployment.

“Thus, Instead of simply ‘dropping’ the probationary period provision on OFW contracts, the POEA must instead focus on curbing contract substitution and violations committed by foreign employers which we believed would not be possible without the collaboration of the deploying recruitment agencies,” Monterona.

“Recruitment agencies and foreign employers that are party to such labor malpractice must be banned from deploying and recruitment,” he added.

Migrante-Middle East is calling the incoming Aquino government through its soon-to-appoint Labor department Secretary to look at this problem and investigate so that a new system will be developed with the objective of curbing the rampant cases of contract substitution victimizing thousands of OFWs.

Reference:
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator

via: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/06/25/dole-poea-failed-to-curb-rampant-cases-of-ofws-contract-substitution/

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Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory,

POEA to drop probationary period on OFW contracts, but allow similar setups

The term “probationary period” will be removed, but not really.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) clarified Thursday that while it is disallowing the use of the term “probationary period” in overseas employment contracts, recruitment agencies may still retain the concept “in essence”.

POEA deputy administrator Hans Leo Cacdac told GMANews.TV in a phone interview that agencies will no longer be allowed to include a probationary period in their contracts. He however added that they may still specify a certain period for foreign employers to assess overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

“It’s just the term ‘probationary period’ that we’re disallowing, but in essence, it will still be there,” Cacdac admitted.

Recruitment agencies had earlier slammed the POEA’s plan to remove the probationary period in overseas employment contracts, threatening that they will stop processing papers for new workers unless the implementation of the new policy is put on hold.

In a press release, recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani said the POEA has not consulted recruitment agencies and foreign employers on the new policy.

“A probationary period of three to six months is standard in most countries of destinations in Asia, Middle East, and Europe which the POEA and recruitment agencies adopted many decades ago since the private sectors took over the recruitment industry in the early 80’s,” Geslani stated.

He added the period differs according to country, and is sometimes part of a country’s labor laws.

New workers are usually placed on probationary status for a definite period, during which companies assess the workers’ performance and decide whether to retain them or discontinue their employment.

If the provision is removed from the contracts, Geslani explained, “almost all agencies will be subject to illegal dismissal cases filed by workers who did not pass the probationary period or qualify.”

Foreign employers will object to the new policy, which may thus lead to a decline in the hiring of new workers, he added.

Cacdac, however, said agencies will still be allowed to indicate a specific period in contracts when employees may be removed, but only under standards agreed upon by the employer and the employee.

“The probationary period gives the employer a free hand in terminating employees. Contracts must ensure that Filipino workers will be terminated only for just causes,” Cacdac explained.

He admitted, though, that employers may still dismiss their employees during the specified period, provided that just causes for termination are enumerated in the contract, to which the employees agreed.

“The situation will be similar to the probationary set-up,” Cacdac added.

The term “probationary period” is misleading, he further explained, because in the context of Philippine labor, the period is immediately followed by either termination or permanent employment.

OFWs are usually on a fixed-term employment contract of one or two years.

Despite the criticism, the POEA will issue a resolution on the new policy on a yet unspecified date, which will take full effect following its publication on major newspapers as required by the law, Cacdac said.

By Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV

via: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/194379/poea-to-drop-probationary-period-on-ofw-contracts-but-allow-similar-setups

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

POEA warns of fake Net job offers

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU/Manila Bulletin

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) advised Monday desperate job hunters hoping to work abroad to use their judgment and common sense when applying for a job on the Internet to avoid being scammed or fooled.

Hanz Cacdac, POEA deputy administrator, said many fake job offers posted on the Internet, particularly those for overseas employment come from sites in the United Kingdom, specifically London, and Canada and the United States.

“Meron tayong monitoring sa POEA on things posted on the Net. If you noticed doon sa mga violations, nag-i-issue tayo agad ng advisory para mapalinawagan agad ang publiko about these bogus job offers,’’ Cacdac said in an interview.

“Job seekers should really assert their selves before getting duped by scammers on the Net. They have to ask lots of questions or check the agency if it is licensed or accredited with us,’’ he said.

Cacdac said job offers sent via email seeking for addresses, personal numbers and money without any contract should be considered outright as a scam.

Asked if the phenomenon is alarming, the official said the agency will not take lightly the illegal work of recruitment agencies and will instead intensify its campaign against these bogus agencies.

He said this is also the reason why the POEA has partnered with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to track down violators.

“We have an ongoing briefing with the NBI on how to track sources of Internet post and e-mail. Traceable naman talaga siya and we do plan to have an operation lalo dun sa mga fraudsters na nandirito,’’ according to Cacdac.

As of last year, data received by the POEA from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in London showed than over 200 mails from job applicants and local recruitment agencies were recorded requesting for verification of the legality of the job offers they received through the Net.

Most jobs being offered on the Internet are those for professionals and skilled workers, including engineers, caregivers, hotel staff, store managers and salesperson.

Agencies usually showcase high salary offers and benefits to convince people to grab the opportunity.

Earlier, former labor secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas urged job seekers to always double check the job vacancies being offered and ensure that these are authenticated by the POLO or the embassy.

She reminded the public to be always cautious and to follow the proper process of applying for jobs as mandated in the POEA rules and regulation for overseas employment.

“Dalawa lamang ang tamang paraan ng pag-alis upang magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. Una ay sa pamamagitan ng regular recruitment system dito sa atin na siyang ginagawa ng mga licensed recruitment agencies for their accredited foreign principals o di kaya ay through a government-to-government arrangement,’’ she said.

“Ang ikalawa ay through a direct hiring arrangement kung saan ang foreign employer ay deretsahan hina-hire ang lokal na aplikante dito sa atin subalit ang pag-alis ng prospective OFW ay ayon pa rin sa documentation process ng POEA,’’ said Sto. Tomas.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

Pinoys in Portugal to enjoy RP social security benefits

Filipinos in Portugal will soon be able to receive their Philippine social security benefits there after the two countries finalized a social security agreement late last month.

The Philippine Embassy in Lisbon reported the success of the negotiations between the Philippines and Portugal, resulting in the RP-Portugal Social Security Agreement finalized in Lisbon on May 28, according to a release posted on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The draft agreement, according to the release, provides for the coordination of social security laws between the two countries, particularly those having to do with equal treatment, maintenance of acquired rights, transfer of benefits and cooperation between pertinent institutions in the two countries.

It also covers laws of both countries on social protection relating to sickness and maternity, paternity and adoption, invalidity, old age and death, accidents at work and occupational diseases, among others.

The first round of negotiations was held in October 2009, and the agreement is expected to be signed in Manila in September 2010, the release further stated.

Ambassador Teresita V.G. Barsana headed the Philippine delegation at the second round of negotiations.

Social Security System (SSS) Commissioner Jose Sonny G. Matula, SSS Senior Vice President Judy Frances A. See and Roberto B. Bautista meanwhile provided the technical expertise at the negotiations.

Representatives of the SSS also took the opportunity to brief the Filipino community in Lisbon on the SSS Flexi-fund for overseas workers, as well as the future benefits of the agreement.

The SSS Flexi-fund is a provident fund for overseas Filipino workers with flexible payment terms, an additional service apart from the regular SSS membership of OFWs.

The briefing was held at the Philippine Embassy in Portugal which recently re-opened after 35 years.

Records from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration show there are over 90 registered OFWs in the western European country as of 2009.

As of December 2008 meanwhile, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas has recorded over 4,300 Filipinos in Portugal, including permanent and irregular residents.

The Philippines has signed social security agreements with other EU countries including Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, the DFA said.

For Portugal, the agreement with the Philippines will be its first with an Asian country.

By JMA/JV, GMANews.TV

Filed under: DFA-advisory, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory,

POEA warns of fake Net job offers

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU/Manila Bulletin

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) advised Monday desperate job hunters hoping to work abroad to use their judgment and common sense when applying for a job on the Internet to avoid being scammed or fooled.

Hanz Cacdac, POEA deputy administrator, said many fake job offers posted on the Internet, particularly those for overseas employment come from sites in the United Kingdom, specifically London, and Canada and the United States.

“Meron tayong monitoring sa POEA on things posted on the Net. If you noticed doon sa mga violations, nag-i-issue tayo agad ng advisory para mapalinawagan agad ang publiko about these bogus job offers,’’ Cacdac said in an interview.

“Job seekers should really assert their selves before getting duped by scammers on the Net. They have to ask lots of questions or check the agency if it is licensed or accredited with us,’’ he said.

Cacdac said job offers sent via email seeking for addresses, personal numbers and money without any contract should be considered outright as a scam.

Asked if the phenomenon is alarming, the official said the agency will not take lightly the illegal work of recruitment agencies and will instead intensify its campaign against these bogus agencies.

He said this is also the reason why the POEA has partnered with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to track down violators.

“We have an ongoing briefing with the NBI on how to track sources of Internet post and e-mail. Traceable naman talaga siya and we do plan to have an operation lalo dun sa mga fraudsters na nandirito,’’ according to Cacdac.

As of last year, data received by the POEA from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in London showed than over 200 mails from job applicants and local recruitment agencies were recorded requesting for verification of the legality of the job offers they received through the Net.

Most jobs being offered on the Internet are those for professionals and skilled workers, including engineers, caregivers, hotel staff, store managers and salesperson.

Agencies usually showcase high salary offers and benefits to convince people to grab the opportunity.

Earlier, former labor secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas urged job seekers to always double check the job vacancies being offered and ensure that these are authenticated by the POLO or the embassy.

She reminded the public to be always cautious and to follow the proper process of applying for jobs as mandated in the POEA rules and regulation for overseas employment.

“Dalawa lamang ang tamang paraan ng pag-alis upang magtrabaho sa ibang bansa. Una ay sa pamamagitan ng regular recruitment system dito sa atin na siyang ginagawa ng mga licensed recruitment agencies for their accredited foreign principals o di kaya ay through a government-to-government arrangement,’’ she said.

“Ang ikalawa ay through a direct hiring arrangement kung saan ang foreign employer ay deretsahan hina-hire ang lokal na aplikante dito sa atin subalit ang pag-alis ng prospective OFW ay ayon pa rin sa documentation process ng POEA,’’ said Sto. Tomas.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

Pinoys warned vs direct hiring scam in Italy

By Jocelyn Ruiz, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

ROME – Filipinos looking for employment in Italy are warned against illegal recruitment agencies that are reportedly using the direct hiring system to entice OFWs to apply as seasonal workers in the country.

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) said some agencies are charging OFWs exorbitant fees when they apply as direct hire seasonal workers.

“May reports na nakarating sa amin na may mga tao na nagha-hire sa Pilipinas at pinagbabayad ng P500,000 to P600,000 para pumupunta dito. Walang ganun dito at dini-discourage po natin at nagbigay na tayo ng advisory sa POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration),” said Labor Attache Chona Mantilla.

According to POLO, the Direct Hiring 2010 in Italy is only for domestic helpers and caregivers.

Earlier news reports said the Italian government will open an entry quota on direct hiring or decreto flussi 2010 for migrant workers in Italy. This is also the chance for many Filipinos to bring their families or relatives to work in Italy.

However, the Italian government has no open quota for direct hiring for seasonal workers or decreto flussi per lavoro stagionale 2010 for Filipino migrants.

“Ang Pilipinas ay hindi kasama sa mga countries na may bilateral agreement for seasonal workers. Totoo na may 80,000 na seasonal workers na ang Italian government ngayon na binibigyan ng flussi but sad to say hindi tayo kasama doon,” said Mantilla.

POLO estimates that around 140,000 Filipinos are living in Italy, compared to the 100,924 data from the Ministero Dell Interno last July 31, 2009. This number does not include undocumented workers.

Meanwhile, data gathered by the Isituto Nazionale Di Statistica (ISTAT) or Institute on National Statistics revealed that there are 113,686 documented Filipinos living in Italy in 2008, as compared to the 105, 675 data ISTAT estimated in 2007.

The data gathered makes Filipinos the 6th largest foreign population group in Italy, behind Romania (796,477); Albania (441, 396); Morocco (403, 592); China (170,265); and Ukraine (153,998).

The seasonal worker is a short-term contract employment like farm jobs or more on agriculture, and summer job vacancies like working in hotels, restaurants and resorts.

 

Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/06/05/10/pinoys-warned-vs-direct-hiring-scam-italy

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, OFW Scam, Illegal Recruiter, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

Filipinos warned against looking for jobs in Macau

Filipino jobseekers, especially those with only tourist visas, were warned Tuesday against seeking work in Macau as the special administrative region is giving priority to local hires.

It is no longer easy to get jobs as walk-in applicants in the region, Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said, citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Macau.

In an article on the Labor Department website, Roque also warned Filipino jobseekers against falling for unscrupulous individuals or entities who may bring them to Macau as tourists with promises of jobs.

Instead of finding jobs, he said these jobseekers may find themselves in dire straits due to the new Macau restrictions against foreign workers.

Roque advised workers to verify first with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) the legality of jobs being offered in Macau.

In 2009, POEA deployed 6,729 OFWs to Macau, most of whom were employed in the tourism sector.

But the Macau government passed the Law for the Employment of Non-residential Workers, or the Law on Imported Labor, to safeguard the employment of local workers and restrict the hiring of migrant workers there.

The new law took effect last April 26.

In its report, the POLO in Macau said the draft administrative regulations complementing the new law have already been submitted to the Macau government’s Executive Council.

In view of the new law, the Macau Federation of Trade Unions (FAOM) presented 10 demands to the Macau Department of Transportation and Public Works to protect local workers and prevent the illegal employment of foreign workers.

The union asked the Macau government to, among others, prevent the hiring of foreign workers in occupations such as drivers and floor supervisors in casinos, and in the industrial and construction sectors as well.

As this developed, the POLO-Macau has consulted the Macau Labor Affairs Bureau for a symposium aimed at orienting the OFWs in Macau on the new law.

Macau, a former Portuguese colony, is one of the two special administrative regions in China, the other one being Hong Kong.

Its economy is based largely on tourism, gaming, and hospitality industry which contribute more than 50 percent of its gross domestic product.

Other chief economic activities in this administrative region are export-geared textile and garment manufacturing, banking and other financial services.

By : JMA, RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory,

Ban on foreign illegal recruiter sought

By JUN RAMIREZ

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recently recommended to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to ban a foreigner allegedly engaged in illegal recruitment and deployment of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to Hong Kong without the necessary clearance from the government, it was learned Wednesday.

In his letter to BI Commissioner Marcelino Libanan, DFA Assistant Secretary Jaime Ledda sought the bureau’s assistance in putting the foreigner’s name in the blacklist after receiving reports from the Philippine embassy in Guangzhou, China.

Libanan immediately issued an order placing the foreigner in its blacklist, thus preventing the alien from entering the Philippines and from victimizing prospective OFWs.

The BI chief also ordered immigration supervisors and officers in all international airports to strictly enforce the blacklist order to put a stop on the illegal activities of the foreigner.

Quoting a report from the DFA, Libanan said the foreigner has been illegally recruiting Filipinos to work in Hong Kong without the proper documentation.

The recruits, who are all women, are allegedly sent to the former British colony without the required processing and permits from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

According to the DFA, the foreiner’s activities were discovered by Chinese authorities when members of the Fujian police raided his recruitment agency.

Filed under: OFW Corner, OFW Scam, Illegal Recruiter, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

DFA issues warning on dubious offers for Caribbean jobs

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) warned Wednesday Filipinos seeking jobs in South America to be wary of unscrupulous individuals or companies that require a huge amount of money in exchange for high-paying salaries in the Caribbean.

The warning was issued after the Philippine Embassy in Venezuela revealed that unscrupulous companies that ask for a certain amount of money as well as a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Skills Certification prior to the processing of job applications in Trinidad and Tobago.

“CARICOM Skills Certificate is meant for the free movement of citizens of CARICOM member-countries, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat (UK), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago, to work in the Caribbean states. It is not for Filipinos and other foreigners,” the Philippine Embassy in Venezuela said.

“The companies’ profile, company’s registration, and prospective employment contract should be examined carefully. These documents should all be notarized and authenticated by the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” it said.

“It is also advisable to verify the existence of such companies with the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) or the Embassy before further transacting with them,” it added.

The Philippine Embassy in Venezuela expressed alarm following an email from a Filipino fire engineer in a Saudi Arabian company, who sought assistance on the CARICOM. The Filipino was reportedly given a job as a maintenance and fire safety engineer in Trinidad and Tobago provided that he apply for a CARICOM Skills Certificate and pay US$765 (approximately P34,425) for notarial and legal service fees for his documents.

The DFA has been warning OFWs to be vigilant against illegal recruitment agencies as well as text and e-mail scams.

Just like the internet scam, the text scams required OFWs to transmit money prior to receiving their so-called prizes supposedly to pay for taxes, remittance charges, or donations.

By MADEL R. SABATER
May 5, 2010, 4:46pm

Filed under: OFW Scam, Illegal Recruiter, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

New law scraps DST, travel tax, airport fee for migrant workers

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are now exempted from paying documentary stamp tax (DST) on their remittances as well as travel tax and airport fee.
This is contained in the amended Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act.

The law exempts migrant workers from the payment of travel tax, DST, and airport fee upon showing of proof of entitlement from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

“The remittances of all OFWs, upon showing the same proof of entitlement by the OFW beneficiary or recipient, shall be exempted from the payment of documentary stamp tax,’’ Section 22 of Republic Act 10022, stated.

Former labor undersecretary and now Nacionalista Party (NP) senatorial bet Susan Ople immediately urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Department of Finance (DoF) to immediately issue the new law’s implementing guidelines.

“The DoLE and the DoF should promptly issue the new law’s implementing rules and regulations so that OFWs would immediately benefit from reduced remittance charges,’’ Ople said in a statement.

She said that the scrapping of the DST is very timely because it could help the OFW beneficiaries here recover some of the buying power they lost due to the peso’s surge against the dollar.

“OFWs can now count on some P1.3 billion in extra savings with the abolition of the DST on all their remittances,’’ Ople said, as she cited DoF’s projection at $19 billion worth of remittances this year.

“The removal of the DST on all funds wired home by OFWs would help drive down money transfer charges, and put more cash in the pockets of those receiving remittance,’’ she added.

Prior to the passage of RA 10022, all money transfers from abroad and payable in the Philippines, including those wired home by OFWs were subject to the DST at a rate of P0.30 for every P200.

Ople said that local banks and non-bank money transfer agents such as The Western Union Co. and Moneygram International, Inc. collect the DST before the funds sent home by OFWs are actually paid out to their beneficiaries here.

This means that OFWs pay a DST of P33.27 for every $500 or P22,180 (at $1:P44.36) they send home. The amount is on top of foreign and local bank fees, plus the P0.50 to a dollar margin domestic banks that are allowed when paying out remittances in pesos.

Various OFWs and labor groups and even an administration senatoriable had called for the scrapping of the tax imposed on remittances, saying it will severely burden the overseas workers and their families.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) had said the government has been raking in money from OFW remittances through the DST, reaching to over P1.3 billion.

Migrante International believes the government has had enough from the billions of dollars of OFW remittances it received yearly.

“OFWs have been the country’s economic saviors for over three decades already; it is therefore high time for the government to do the saving,’’ the group said.

Given the contribution of OFWs in helping keep the economy afloat, Lakas-Kampi-CMD senatorial bet Atty. Raul Lambino also said it is not wise fiscal policy to require DST payment for OFW remittances.

An estimated 10 million Filipinos, migrants and contract workers are working abroad. OFWs remit around $17 billion annually, it was learned

New law scraps DST, travel tax, airport fee for migrant workers
By:SHIANEE MAMANGLU
April 17, 2010, 7:54pm

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory, , , , , ,

Pinay Nurse topped an examination in Japan

Pinay tops Japan test for nurse

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Philippines Nurses Association (PNA) lauded a nurse from Abra who topped an examination in Japan last February.

Ever Gammed Lalin, 34, topped the Japanese test, the first to do so since the POEA and the Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services (JICWELS) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in January last year for the deployment and acceptance of nurses and caregivers to that country.

More than 200 nurses, including 93 from the Philippines took the test, it was learned.

“She’s fortunate enough to pass the exam considering that no one had done that in the past. We already sent her a congratulatory letter,’’ Lina de Luna of the POEA client services division said in an interview.

“Right now, we are trying to get in touch with her to get some tips para naman sa kapakanan ng susunod na batch. But she is yet to reply,’’ she added.

De Luna said that Lalin possibly took the examination seriously although she was not among those who were given exemption for the training.

Maristella Abenojar, executive director of the PNA also expressed amazement at how Lalin got the record.

“Historically, walang pumapasa na foreign nurses sa Japan due to language barrier. This is a development but we have to consider ano yung factor,’’ Abenojar said.

She noted that the six-month training given the nurses to learn Nihonggo is not enough.

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU
http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/251592/pinay-tops-japan-test-nurse
April 7, 2010, 5:50pm

Filed under: Encouragement, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, People who inspired Us, POEA-Advisory,

Filipino au pairs wanted in Switzerland

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has lifted the ban on deploying au pairs to Switzerland, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said Monday.

In a phone interview, POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili said the ban, which has been effective since the late 1990s following reports of abuses, has been lifted after the Swiss government passed laws that protect the rights and welfare of au pairs.

Au pairs are usually young foreign visitors who take care of children and do light house chores in exchange for room and board.

Manalili said the POEA governing board approved the resolution in February, with the guidelines becoming effective March 24.

“The lifting was done upon consultation and recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs,” she said.

Swiss delegates were in the country last week to finalize the lifting.

Asked how many au pairs may now be deployed, Manalili said, “It depends on the demands.”

To protect Filipino au pairs who wish to work in Switzerland, the POEA has a standard au pair contract and a verification process, she said.

Manalili said there are similar requests for au pair deployments to Norway and Denmark.

 

By:Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 08:42:00 03/29/2010

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory

Philippines Resumes Registration for EPS Language Test

MANILA ― The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will resume registering Filipino workers who want to work in South Korea under the Employment Permit System (EPS).

POEA Administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili announced that the agency will register applicants for the sixth EPS-Korean Language Test (KLT) from April 6 to 8 in Cebu, Metro Manila, Davao, Pampanga and Baguio.

The language test was originally scheduled to be held in the Philippines by the Human Resource Development Service of Korea (HRD Korea) last January but it was postponed due to implementation issues.

Manalili said the POEA and HRD Korea have ironed out the issues regarding the implementation of the EPS and that the examination dates will be announced on March 29.

HRD Korea is the new agency accredited by the Korean government to conduct the language test.

Passing the language test is required for Filipinos to be included on the roster of jobseekers from which Korean employers can choose from.

POEA said jobs in South Korea’s manufacturing industry are only available for qualified applicants for now.

Filipino workers with active status in the POEA online manpower registry as of March 31 this year are qualified to register for the KLT. The application fee for the test was also reduced to $17 from $30.

“Applicants must be able to meet the minimum qualification requirements before being allowed to take the KLT,” the POEA said in its announcement.

Each applicant has to meet the following requirements: must be younger than 38-years-old, have at least one year of work experience and have valid documents such as a passport.

The HRD Korea has also reduced the passing score on the language test to 80 from 120 points.

Applicants who have scored 80 points out of the 50 items on reading and listening, and whose scores are in the top 3,000 will be included on the roster of jobseekers.

Manalili, however, said, “Being on the roster of pre-qualified applicants, however, is not a guarantee for employment as employers will have specific job requirements in hiring their workers.”

POEA said more than 21,000 Filipino workers have worked in South Korea under the EPS since August 2004. The basic monthly salary for a foreign EPS worker in South Korea is about $904, the agency said.

By Jonathan M. Hicap
Korea Times Correspondent

jhicap@yahoo.com

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, OFW Livelihood Training, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

DFA warns vs illegal recruitment scam in Spain

Manila (17 February) — THE Philippine Embassy in Spain reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs an illegal recruitment operation that is currently being perpetrated by a syndicate using Spain as a destination for Filipino workers.

The embassy named the company allegedly recruiting Filipino workers under this scheme as Previsto Ferrocariel Guiscoanagin, with address at Calle Placentinos 18B, 32005, Barcelona, Spain.

The syndicate is using the email address espanolconsulate@europe.com to communicate with Filipino workers and lead them to believe that this is the email address of the Philippine Embassy in Madrid.

The Philippine Consulate-General in Barcelona has verified that there is no such address in Barcelona. There is a Calle de los Placentinos in the province of Salamanca, while the zip code 32005 corresponds to the province of Ourense, not Catalonia.

The public is advised to be wary of job offers from this company and to first check the veracity of any job offer and company with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in the country concerned, the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA), or the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

 

Courtesy: PIA-BOHOL

 

 

Filed under: DFA-advisory, OFW Corner, OFW Scam, Illegal Recruiter, POEA-Advisory,

RP workers warned about jobs in Poland

 MANILA, Philippines—Filipino applicants for jobs in Poland should think twice before accepting any offer.

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Saturday advised Poland-bound workers, particularly those recruited as mushroom pickers, not to proceed, citing many complaints of low wages and unfavorable working conditions there.

“There are approximately 86 Filipino women currently deployed or working as mushroom pickers in Poland. The majority of these workers are not happy with their jobs due to very low wages, unfavorable working conditions and substandard accommodations,” Philippine Ambassador to Poland Alejandro D. del Rosario said in a report to his home office.

He said these workers were not directly employed by the mushroom companies but through a Polish recruitment agency who subcontracted their services. The mushroom company, therefore, is not concerned with the welfare of the workers, Del Rosario added.

Workers are paid on a per kilo basis, which is dependent on the available mushrooms for picking and the orders received from customers. Rates per kilo also depend on whether the mushrooms are of first, second or third class quality.

In effect, there are no fixed wages for a mushroom picker, with workers’ monthly earnings varying from $150 to $500, the ambassador said.

Some of the workers said they were promised $600 a month by the Polish recruitment firm but ended up with a net pay of only $180 a month.

Del Rosario said Euroconnect, a Polish recruiting agency which works with Javier Manning, based in Malate, Manila, was responsible for the plight of 19 mushroom pickers who walked out of their jobs because of unfair labor practices.

Workers were also being made to clean the production sites and its premises, but were not getting paid for this additional work, Del Rosario said.

He said the workers were living in substandard condition, with more than 30 individuals sharing one dilapidated bathroom with limited supply of hot water.

“With a placement fee of about $4,000, the bulk of which is normally financed by ‘lending companies’ charging exorbitant interest rates, the deployed mushroom picker is deep in debt even before he or she starts work,” the ambassador said.

Last Dec. 8, the embassy repatriated 10 of the 19 mushroom pickers who walked out of their jobs. The POEA had persuaded the Polish recruiter to give them return tickets, Del Rosario said.

By Cynthia Balana
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

POEA warns job applicants to Korea

January 27, 2010 – Workers with immigration violation in Korea are ineligible under the Employment Permit System of Korea, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) warned Wednesday.

The POEA, which is in-charge of implementing the EPS in partnership with the Human Resource Development Service-Korea, advised applicants that they should provide truthful information on their previous record of travel to Korea.

“Those who may have misinterpreted that they have not entered Korea before, in order to escape sanctions could be disqualified later on and not be entitled to an entry visa, even though they may have passed the preliminary stages of application,” POEA said in a statement.

The agency stressed that former applicants, who may have committed immigration violation in the past, should not apply anymore so that they can be spared from spending time, money and effort only to be disqualified later on.

POEA said it has also adopted measures to ensure that only those qualified and not restricted to enter Korea should be able to take the EPS-Korean Language Test.

“With the cooperation of the Korean Embassy, applicants who are on active registration status as of Jan. 22, 2010 shall still be pre-screened for any record of immigration violation in Korea,” POEA said.

The registration period and other details for EPS-KLT and actual date of examination are being finalized by the POEA and HRD-Korea.

By JC BELLO RUIZ

Filed under: OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory,

More jobs in Japan

THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Central Visayas has started accepting a second batch of caregiver and nursing applicants for Japan.

POEA Director Evelia Durato said that over a thousand of applicants will be needed. Applicants should register online at http://www.poea.gov.ph on or before January 15.

POEA will prequalify applicants for interview and examination by prospective employers. Those who pass will sign contracts and get language training in Japan with allowances equivalent to their salary. Those that pass language training will then be assigned to employers.

The POEA is also asking applicants for Korea to grab the opportunity of taking the low-cost Korea Language Test. Durato said that for those who want to work in Korea should first pass the test, which the POEA offers for $17 (the noraml price is $30). Applicants should also register online. Deadline of registration is on January 22.

The POEA also said that it is still ironing out job opportunities in Australia, particularly in Southern Australia where thousands of skilled workers are needed in construction sites and hotels.

The demand for overseas workers means applicants must be careful to avoid illegal recruiters.

Durato said that applicants should be wary in accepting offers and check with the POEA if a recruiter is licensed. If the offer is too good to be true, the applicants should think twice, she added.

The Department of Labor and Employment in Central Visayas is also expecting a better turnout for local work this year.

Director Elias Cayanong said that still booming are the call center industry, construction, tourism, electronics, and garments. For the last quarter, call centers grew 30-35 percent.

/Correspondent Carine M. Asutilla-Inquirer.net

Filed under: OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

Processing of returning OFW extended

MANILA, Philippines—To accommodate the many returning overseas Filipino workers who need to process their overseas employment certificates during the holidays, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has extended this service.

Administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili said the POEA Balik-Manggagawa Processing Center in the POEA main office in Ortigas shall be open on December 26 (Saturday) and December 30 (Rizal Day) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in anticipation of the influx of OFWs after Christmas Day.
Manalili said returning OFWs who are in the provinces may also have their exit clearance processed at the POEA regional offices but only during regular work days.

The POEA regional offices are located in San Fernando City, La Union; Baguio City; Clark Field, Pampanga; Calamba City; Legaspi City; Tacloban City; Cebu City; Iloilo City; Bacolod City; Davao City; Cagayan De Oro City; and Zamboanga City.

Manalili said OFWs should present their valid passports, working permits, and other relevant employment documents for verification by POEA officers.

The Balik-Manggagawa program is for OFWs on vacation or on leave, and are returning to the same employer. The term also refers to OFWs who will join/return to the same employer who has transferred to another jobsite; who have partially served their present employer; and undocumented OFWs (tourists, dependents, students, and businessman) who became OFWs and have partially served the same employer.

First Posted 09:26:00 12/24/2009

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory

Delay new test for Saudi-bound nurses—POEA

November 25, 2009 13:38:00
Veronica Uy
INQUIRER.net

 MANILA, Philippines— The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has asked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to delay the implementation of its new test for foreign nurses seeking work there.

Saudi is the biggest employer of Filipino nurses. POEA records show that the number of Filipino nurses deployed to Saudi has steadily increased over the past four years. A total of 5,640 Filipino nurses were deployed to Saudi in 2004; 4,627 in 2005; 5,640 in 2006; 6,266 in 2007; and 7,955 in 2008.

In an interview, POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili told INQUIRER.net the new Saudi requirement, similar to the one required by the United States’ Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), requires the so-called prometric examination.

The testing fee of $85, as in the NCLEX (the nursing licensure test in the US), is to be shouldered by the examinee

However, Manalili said, the Philippine government can hardly implement the new requirement because it has not been fully disseminated and preparations for its implementation are still underway.

She said personnel changes in the Philippine diplomatic post in Saudi and the Saudi embassy here are also making it difficult to implement the new test.

Manalili said POEA does not even have a complete list of the testing venues in the Philippines.

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory,

Saudi imposes new exam for foreign nurses

(The Philippine Star) Updated November 24, 2009 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Fewer Filipino nurses are likely to get employed in Saudi Arabia in the coming months with the government there imposing stricter requirement for the hiring of foreign workers.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) yesterday reported that the Saudi government is now requiring all foreign nurses, including Filipinos, to hurdle an additional examination prior to their employment.

“The Saudi Council mandates all foreign nurses to pass the Prometric Exam before working in the Kingdom,” POEA chief Jennifer Manalili disclosed.

Manalili said the prometric examination is similar to the licensure examination administered to nursing graduates in the country.

In the Philippines, Manalili said, the accredited testing center is Thomson Prometric at the Ateneo Professional Schools in Makati City, with telephone number 892-0383 and website http://www.prometric.com.

Manalili added that the examination is scheduled Tuesday until Friday, with a fee of $90.

Local recruitment industry leaders are worried that the imposition of the new requirement would lead to the reduction in the number of Filipino nurses hired in Saudi Arabia.

Based on POEA data, more than 130,000 nurses have left for abroad from 1992 to 2007.

Saudi Arabia is among the biggest employers of Filipino nurses, including those who were not fortunate enough to pass the board. – Mayen Jaymalin

 

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, Overseas Jobs, POEA-Advisory, ,

POEA lists travel advisories for returning OFWs

In order to facilitate the issuance of Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) travel exit clearances (OECs) to returning OFWs during the Christmas and New Year Holiday Season, please be informed of the following:

The POEA Balik-Manggawa Processing Division experiences a surge in the number of applicants for OECs at the start of the Christmas peak season. This number is double the usual of 1,000 per day.

Congestion and security are major concerns at the POEA premises. Complicating this situation is the number of OFW applicants who have immediate flights.

In order to pace, declog or deload the processing of OECs, the POE advises the following:

1. OFWs who have just arrived are encouraged to apply for their OECs early either at the POEA main office or at the nearest POEA regional offices and extension units, or avail of the OEC delivery service, so that they can avoid last minute problems prior to their return flights.

2. Departing OFWs who will return during the Christmas season are encouraged to apply for their OECs at the Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POPs) in their host countries prior to coming home. Or, they may apply for their OECs at the POEA main or regional offices early prior to their return flights to their host countries.

3. Regular processing of OECs has been discontinued at the NAIA Labor Assistance Center (LAC) except for weekends or emergency exit within five (5) days from entry. OFWs must apply for their OECs with the POEA main or regional offices prior to their return flights.

4. OFWs who have not yet registered with the POEA are advised to bring their contract and / or certificate of employment, and other proofs of employment in order to be documented and be issued an OEC.

5. OFWs to regularly check the POEA website at http://www.poea.gov.ph for advisories especially before they book their flights.

The POEA regional extension unit-10 in Cagayan de Oro is located at the G/F Trinidad Bldg., Yacapin St., Contact Numbers: 724824 / 729465. (POEA)

Filed under: Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory, , ,

DFA Closely Monitoring OFWs Involved in Drug-Related Cases in KSA

9 November 2009 – A Filipino jailed in Dammam, Saudi Arabia in 2008 for alleged drug-related crime is currently awaiting the final decision of the Grand Court of Dammam on his case.

 

This was reported by the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) after inquiring with and receiving a note verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the case of Jason Mallorca Pineda.

 

Mr. Pineda was detained at the Dammam Jail in March 2008 for allegedly receiving 21.2 grams of methamphetamine and selling it his fellow Filipinos in Saudi Arabia. According to Saudi authorities, he allegedly confessed to the commission of the crime.

 

“His case was endorsed by the General Prosecutor to the Grand Court of Dammam. The case has been followed up by the Jail. The presiding Judge informed that the case is still under the Court’s study and review,” the note verbale read.
The Philippine Embassy said Mr. Pineda remains in detention since under local laws, bail is not granted for drug-related cases.

 

Meanwhile, the DFA’s Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs said final arrangements are being made for the eventual repatriation of Jose Jonathan Botor Bigas who was also imprisoned for a drug-related offense in Saudi Arabia.

 

Funds are being made available for the repatriation of Mr. Bigas who was originally sentenced to one year imprisonment and 250 lashes in August 2007. Mr. Bigas finished serving his term in August 2008 but due to administrative procedures between the Saudi court and the Governor’s Office, he remained in jail for a time.

 

There are 62 Filipinos incarcerated in nine countries in the Middle East on drug-related cases. Of these, 43 are in Riyadh and majority are women.

 

There are approximately 3,000 Filipinos (flow estimate) in detention centers or facing criminal prosecution overseas. Of these, about 70 percent involve immigration-related offenses and these overseas Filipinos, including OFWs, are expected to be deported after serving their brief sentences. The rest are in custody for commission of common crimes, including theft and drug trafficking.

 

Embassy and Consulate officials and personnel conduct monthly jail visits to look after the welfare of Filipinos in jail. Approval of jail visitation in some countries, however, depends on the host government.

 

The DFA and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) submit a semi-annual report to Congress containing the inventory of Filipinos in jail in other countries, among others.

 

Philippine foreign service posts also maintain, in cooperation with DOLE-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, a Filipino Workers Resource Center (FWRC) in countries where there are large concentration of Filipinos.

 

In Saudi Arabia, DOLE also maintains four Philippine Overseas Labor Offices (POLOs) located in Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Khobar, and Buraida. END

 

Filed under: DFA-advisory, Kwentong OFW, OFW Corner, POEA-Advisory, Sorsogon News Updates

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