Fewer overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been hired in the first half of the year.
hfsclpp at gmail.com
Sat Jul 14 18:23:06 UTC 2007
BY MAYEN JAYMALIN
The Philippine Star
Fewer overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been hired in the first
half of the year.
Data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
showed that from January to July 11, the total deployment only reached
564,320 or 43,319 (7.1 percent) less than the 607,639 number of
Filipino workers who left the country to work abroad during the same
period last year.
Based on the POEA data, the number of land-based workers declined by
5.7 percent from 460,223 to 433,869 with the new hires posting a
significant 21.4 percent drop.
Sea-based workers, on the other hand, went down by 11.5 percent to
130,451 from last year's total of 147,416.
POEA records also manifested a 10 percent decrease from 674,136 to
606,771, of contracts processed in the first six months of the year.
Recruitment industry leaders attributed the dramatic drop in
deployment to the serious lack of highly skilled workers in the
country at this time.
"Despite the many job orders, POEA and the recruitment industry are
having difficulty filling up those demands because of manpower
shortage," said a recruitment official, who spoke on condition of
He added that demand for construction workers is expected to increase
in the second half of the year. "However, we may not be able to take
advantage of it due to prevailing shortage of engineers and other
construction workers," he said.
"The government, particularly the labor department and TESDA failed to
adequately provide training programs to improve the skills of Filipino
workers," said the recruitment official.
The recruitment industry also blamed the government's new policy on
the hiring of Filipino domestic helpers for the drop in overseas
"We used to deploy an average of 100,000 domestic helpers but with the
implementation of the new policy, it would be lucky for the country to
deploy at least 50,000 maids this year," the official added.
POEA admitted that the new policy has prompted many Filipino domestic
helpers and licensed recruitment agencies to resort to illegal
recruitment. POEA chief Rosalinda Baldoz said they have recently
uncovered the so-called "re-processing scheme" where licensed agencies
submit to POEA documents for processing of workers under another skill
category but almost always, the worker ends up as a domestic helper.
Baldoz said the POEA has canceled the licenses of three recruitment
agencies and suspended five others for illegally deploying maids using
the re-processing scheme.
She said POEA will not hesitate to close down any agency that will be
found guilty of violating the policy on the hiring of domestic
POEA adopted the new policy which among others provides higher salary
for domestic helpers to protect their welfare, Baldoz said.
Meanwhile, South Korea now allows the re-entry of foreign workers,
including Filipinos, according to the POEA.
"Filipino workers in South Korea who have worked for three consecutive
years with only one employer can now return and work for the same
employer for another three years," POEA deputy administrator Viveca
Catalig noted that Filipino workers can go back and work in Korea
after only a month if they were able to secure a certificate of
re-employment from their employers.
South Korea previously prohibited Filipinos and other foreign workers
from returning after working there for three consecutive years.
But Catalig said the Korean government adopted the new policy to
facilitate the entry of foreign workers from 12 countries, including
the Philippines in their manufacturing and other industries.
"The new policy underscores the Korean's value of perseverance and
loyalty to stay with the same employer for at least three years,"
Catalig pointed out.
She then advised returning Filipino workers to bring their certificate
of re-employment so they could immediately enter South Korea as "balik
Workers who will serve under Korea's employment permit system (EPS)
are exempted from the mandatory language test.
Catalig also reminded workers to follow the procedures strictly to
avoid falling victim to unscrupulous individuals who may try to
illegally collect money from them.
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