OFWs rally vs direct hiring ban in Hong Kong

Published by rudy Date posted on January 14, 2009

Overseas Filipino workers trooped to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) main office in Manila yesterday to protest the ban in the “direct hiring” of OFWs in Hong Kong.

Members of Migrante International said the new government policy on the hiring of Filipino workers for Hong Kong would force many OFWs to pay higher placement fees.

“With this policy, Ofws will have to pay recruitment agencies placement fee when they do not have to shell out such fees before,” Migrante chairman Garry Martinez said.

Martinez said the new policy, which took effect Jan. 1, will also require recruitment agencies to pay P2,400 for each contract they have processed, which ensures additional revenue for the government.

“The only ones celebrating the direct hiring ban are the recruiters and their cohorts in the government,” Martinez said in a statement.

Last year, then Labor Secretary Arturo Brion issued a new policy requiring foreign employers who want to directly hire Filipino workers to have their applications screened by the labor attaché or the Philippine embassy and approved by the Secretary of Department of Labor and Employment.

The same policy also mandates employers to provide a performance bond equivalent to the worker’s salary for three months, a $5,000 repatriation bond, and medical insurance.

The circular, which details the stricter documentation and processing requirements, allows direct hiring for members of the diplomatic corps and of international organizations, government officials of ministerial level, and employers who are hiring on a one-time or trial basis.

The policy, however, was not implemented until DOLE decided to impose it starting this year. – Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star

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