OFWs warned against leaving PH as tourists
MANILA, Philippines – Do not leave as tourists.
This was the warning of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to Filipinos who would like to work abroad.
The agency advised them to be wary of unscrupulous illegal recruiters who would entice workers, especially household service workers (HSWs), to procure and use visit or tourist visas in order to secure overseas employment.
According to POEA chief Hans Leo Cacdac, Filipinos wanting overseas jobs should make sure they have approved and appropriate work permit or visa before they leave the country.
“They should not accept job offers if they are to leave using tourist visa even with the assurance from the recruiters that they will find employment for them upon arrival in the country of destination,” he said in a statement.
“Foreign workers without proper employment documents cannot work legally in any country and are constant target of crackdowns. They are also more prone to exploitation by employers,” Cacdac added.
He cited Dubai as one of the favorite destinations of Filipino “tourists” wanting to find work overseas, with the proliferation of advertisements in the social media offering plane tickets bundled with a 30-day visit visa at very low rates.
“Unfortunately, it is not easy to find work in Dubai. Holding a visit visa which will expire in a month, the worker could be pressured to agree to a substandard employment contract and submit to physical and emotional abuse just to have a work visa,” Cacdac said.
Cacdac also said OFWs should not be easily swayed by illegal recruiters and traffickers promising immediate deployment to Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and other Asian countries where visit visa would not be a prior requirement from citizens of its members.
“The legal way is to obtain an employment contract and employment visa or work permit and submit them to the POEA for processing and issuance of exit clearance,” he said.
He also reminded workers of the strict procedure being implemented by the Bureau of Immigration in screening Filipinos leaving as tourist.
“A traveler found to be misrepresenting the purpose of the foreign trip will not be allowed to board the plane,” he added.
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