Moratorium making dent on HK hiresBy Tina G. Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The deployment of household service workers (HSWs) to Hong Kong has dropped following a moratorium imposed by a group of Philippine-based recruitment agencies.
In a statement, the Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (Sharp) said the moratorium it had imposed on the deployment of HSWs to Hong Kong was gaining momentum as shown by the declining number of employment contracts being processed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
Citing POEA updates, Sharp president Alfredo Palmiery said there had been a decrease in requests to process HSWs contracts submitted by deploying agencies since the moratorium started on Feb. 27.
“Where before the number of processing requests reached a high of 100 daily, this has dropped to 56.6 a day in the period of Feb. 28 to March 8. Also, only 41 percent of recruitment agencies deploying HSWs to Hong Kong are submitting requests for processing and are not cooperating with the moratorium,” Palmiery said.
Willing to pay for HSWs
“We are heartened by the support we are receiving from our members who are heeding the call for a moratorium until the situation in the labor market is reversed in favor of our HSWs, that is, that they are no longer charged and made to pay any placement fee,” he said.
Palmiery claimed a substantial number of new Hong Kong employers had expressed willingness to pay the right recruitment and service fees for HSWs.
Sharp member agencies earlier cited the prohibitive recruitment cost that workers incurred as the primary reason for their decision to stop deploying HSWs to Hong Kong.
Palmiery said Sharp was closely coordinating with the Department of Labor and Employment and the POEA in monitoring recruitment agencies still deploying HSWs to Hong Kong, particularly non-Sharp members, so they could be warned to refrain from doing so until Hong Kong employers agree to the new recruitment terms and conditions that comply with the Philippine government’s no placement-fee policy.
Household reform package
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz earlier said the POEA governing board, which she chairs, had instructed the agency to study the HSW market and submit its findings and recommendations to the board.
She said the study would include consultations with all the stakeholders, like the Philippine recruitment agencies, Hong Kong placement agencies, nongovernment organizations and the Hong Kong government.
In the meantime, Baldoz said, the POEA, in coordination with the Philippine Labor Office in Hong Kong, would continue to strictly enforce the household reform package which, among other things, prohibits the charging of placement fees from workers.