31 January 2009
Migrante-ME sees more OFWs would use 'visit visa' as entry;
Arroyo administration faces dilemma between deployment regulation and massive sell out of OFWs
An alliance of overseas Filipino workers' organizations based in the Middle East today warns that more aspiring OFWs would be forced to use 'visit visa' as an entry point in their quest to find job abroad.
"We are seeing in the coming days the rampant use of 'visit visa' as an entry point in the desire of aspiring OFWs to find job abroad. This is a natural way-out of laid off workers as it is their survival instinct that dictated them to do so," said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East regional coordinator.
Monterona said that it is very understandable that in time of economic crisis, the thousands of laid workers will be forced to do an extra ordinary decision even if they knew it's like 'walking at the edge of the knife' just to survive their struggling family.
"Even if there are thousands of jobs orders, as earlier declared by the POEA, many OFWs and aspiring alike would be hard press and would think twice as they knew very well that deployment formalities require huge amount of money such as placement fees, processing fees, and other charges imposed by the government," Monterona added.
Monterona said now a days, an aspiring OFWs would need at least Php.50,000 or more depending on the position and category of work applied so that he or she could be deployed.
"Fees and charges alone collected by government agencies would amount to nearly Php.20,000 which include but not limited to certification of birth certificates, NBI or Police clearances, authentication of diplomas and Transcript of Records, processing fees collected by the recruitment agency, etc.. etc… that are burdensome for OFWs and aspiring alike," Monterona averred.
Monterona further said this is aside from the placement fee charged by the recruitment agency which amount is equivalent to one-month salary, "That means the higher the salary, the higher the placement fee charged by the agency. Worst, in most cases, the stipulated contractual salary usually reduce upon arrival to and reporting to work to foreign employers" he continued.
"The huge amount of money needed to be legally deployed amid poverty and economic crisis, are forcing OFWs and aspiring alike to consider 'visit visa' as an entry abroad, to gamble their lives and security in the hope of finding job," Monterona added.
Monterona opined this situation is not only a dilemma to OFWs and aspiring alike but to the Arroyo administration as well which is caught between its "massive OFWs sell out" policy and its regulation functions on OFWs deployment.
Monterona commented the case of offloaded 50 OFWs bound for UAE using visit visa as a case in point. He said following the line of the government, the 50 OFWs have all the rights to find ways and means in order for them to find jobs abroad and yet they were bared to go just because it is using visit visa.
"Does it mean now only the government could peddle OFWs by sending them through POEA and recruitment agencies so that fees and charges could surely be siphoned to the government and agencies? The Arroyo administration is giving wrong signal to OFWs and their families," Monterona added.
Migrante-ME urges the Arroyo administration to re-study its "no work visa, no deployment" policy especially now that it's also imposing a ban on direct hiring in which OFWs and their families strongly opposed.
"The bottom line is that OFWs safety, rights and welfare must not be compromised, regardless of what means or way he was deployed – via recruitment agency, by direct hiring or via visit visa offered by relatives already working abroad, after all this is the primary duty of the government that failed to generate local jobs with decent pay and benefits-- the very reason why its workers are now forced to look for jobs abroad," Monterona ended. # # #
John Leonard Monterona
Migrante Middle East regional coordinator
Mobile No.: 00966 564 97 8012