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POEA backtracks on direct hiring

First Posted 21:37:00 02/08/2008

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MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is considering revising its new policy on direct hiring of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), which could lead to exempting employers from additional fees.

Labor Secretary Arturo Brion said Friday that the agency might exempt employers from putting up bonds since terms of employment in other countries usually already included protection of the salaries of OFWs and provisions for repatriation.

?We?re looking at exemptions under direct hiring because we got reports from many of our labor attaches that the protection we are looking for from recruitment agencies may already be provided for in some countries,? said Brion.

He said reports of labor attaches last Thursday on the situations in Italy and Hong Kong had satisfied the POEA governing board that the agency could approve direct hiring without requiring employers to post repatriation and performance bonds.

The new rules of the Department of Labor and Employment regarding direct hiring state that starting January 15, foreign employers will only be allowed to hire directly after a screening of employers and a verification of the contract by either the labor attaché or the Philippine embassy at the host country.

Accordingly, only members of the diplomatic corps and of international organizations and government officials may be allowed to directly hire migrant workers.

The new rules also provide that the number of employees to be hired directly must not exceed five and that employers should post a $5000-repatriation bond per employee to guarantee the repatriation of the worker or of his remains in the event of death.

They are also required to pay a performance bond of $3000 per employee to help guarantee that the employee would be paid his salary for the duration of the contract.

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