No new Filipino workers for at least three weeks: Philippine government
Processing of exit permits for Filipinos who wish to work abroad has been suspended for at least three weeks by the Philippines government. It simply implies many employers in Singapore seeking to hire new domestic workers may be left stranded for at least three weeks pending the suspension.
In a recent release, The Department of Labor and Employment in the Philippines stated that the suspension would last from Monday, Nov 13 to Dec 1 during which the persistent reports of illegal recruitment activities will be investigated. If need be, the suspension may be extended.
Except for workers employed by international organizations and diplomats, seafarers employed by agencies, the government hires, and those returning from home leave, during the suspension applications will not be processed for overseas employment certificates which Filipino workers need to leave the country to work elsewhere. Other workers apart from maids will also be affected.
Mr. Ramon Pastrana, labor attache at the Philippine embassy in Singapore said, the suspension is applicable not only to Singapore alone but workers heading to all other countries.
While waiting for approval of the certificates, some employment agencies had already booked plane tickets for maids to fly to Singapore only to be shocked by the news of the suspension.
The director of Passion Employment Agency, Mr. Low Moon Heng claimed he has three maids who were supposed to fly out to Singapore this week and another four who are set to arrive later this month. He said his maid agency is providing shelter for them in Manila as they await further news.
The certificate is the last step to be taken for a worker to work overseas says Madam K. Jayaprema, the president of the Association of Employment Agencies Singapore (AEAS). She said the contract must have been verified at the Philippine embassy in Singapore and the maid would have attended pre-departure briefings in the Philippines before the approval of the certificates.
An appeal by her group had implored the Philippines government to at least in the case where the maid have completed all other things and are just waiting for the final green light to leave process applications.
An estimated 180,000 Filipinos are working in Singapore, and other workers and not just Filipino maids are affected by the suspension.
David Leong, the managing director People Worldwide Consulting, said he had the intention to employ around 30 nurses and therapists in Singapore by January but is now left with no choice than to delay the deployments.
He said he wonders how the suspension would help to unravel illegal recruiters since most workers who apply for the certificate would have gone through the official legal process.
40-years-old Ong Hse-Yin, who is a local employer and a mother of three, laments the worse timing of the suspension claiming her previous domestic helper just went home last week for a family emergency and is so expecting a new helper by this weekend.
She is worried she has to find another alternative because her older kids’ school holidays is commencing and needs someone to look after them during the day.
“We are living day to day and hoping there will be good news that they will start processing those ready-to-go cases.”