DOLE eyes regulations to visa trading of OFWs in talks with Kuwait

MANILA The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will propose regulations to the visa trading practice, which allows transfer of migrant workers from one employer to another in Kuwait.

We will bring up the issue of visa trading because that is allowed in Kuwait and once that is done and our worker transfers from one employer to another, we will again lose track of our workers," Labor Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad said in an interview at the sidelines of the launch of Homeking Philippines in Manila on Wednesday.

Under the proposed regulation, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will verify new employment contracts of the workers being transferred.

With this, the worker concerned would have to appear before the POLO to confirm the acceptance of his/her transfer to another employer.

"And we will also ask for a written consent of the original employer. We observed when we were in Kuwait that this visa trading has resulted to the untrackable problem. Transferring from one employer to another, Lagunzad added.

The move is part of the measures to be included by the DOLE's negotiating team, which is talking with the Kuwaiti government regarding the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will ensure the protection of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) particularly household service workers (HSWs).

Some of the more important inputs that I have submitted to them would have something to do with the improvements in the protection of our workers. And it would range from assistance as they arrive in Kuwait until they are actually handed to the employers, Lagunzad said.

Assistance in the registration and visitation. And verification of the place of work and the actual employer is being proposed. Because we would like to make sure the employer named in the contract is actually that the employer...they would be handed to the actual employer, the DOLE official added.

Lagunzad also recommended the setting up of alert system in cooperation with the Kuwaiti government and call centers in POLOs.

So that if there will be any complaint and emergency case. And there is a technology based alert system for our workers so they can immediately call the assistance of the police. So that they can be rescued if rescue is necessary, he said.

We are willing to setup our own call centers in the POLOs. 24-hour call centers will receive calls. But you know, we cannot rescue and enter the house of employers. So part of the system is to alert the police and the immigration and authorities so that they will be able to do it, Lagunzad added.

When asked on the fate of the existing deployment ban of OFWs to Kuwait, Lagunzad said this would depend on the results of the negotiations.

It would depend on the outcome of negotiation. But the general statement is we should be assured that our workers are better protected this time. I refer to the domestic workers and we would like to see several practical measures and procedures and even changes in policy for us to be assured that they will be protected, the DOLE official added.

Meanwhile, a China-based provider of household service workers (HSWs) revealed that the demand is high for Filipino domestic workers in mainland China because of their renowned professionalism and English proficiency.

Homeking Philippines Inc. chief executive officer (CEO) Seung Moo Yoo said they are aware of the high demand for Filipino household service attendants (HSAs).

Filipino HSAs have been known the world over for their good character. And our Chinese clients find that they are professional, diligent, and discreet, he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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