PH Embassy, New Zealand move to address OFWs’ concerns – DFA
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday the Philippine Embassy in New Zealand was meeting with labor and migrant groups following the publication of a study stating that Filipino construction workers are underpaid and prone to exploitation and immigration difficulties in the South Pacific country.
The embassy has been in close coordination with the New Zealand government on the reported exploitation of Filipino workers, the DFA said in a statement.
Ambassador Jesus Gary Domingo has also engaged the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other relevant local agencies “to look into crucial matters on migrant employment, workers’ rights and their fair treatment in New Zealand, pastoral care, and access to correct mechanisms and appropriate support agencies,” the DFA said.
The DFA added that embassy officials have also been meeting with the affected Filipino workers, and have also coordinated with Migrante Aotearoa and New Zealand trade unions to discuss and address their concerns.
The study commissioned by the E Tu Union exposed the experiences of mostly Filipino migrant construction workers in Christchurch and Auckland who were found to have been paid two to 10 New Zealand dollars less than the industry average hourly rate of $29.42.
The study also found out possible illegal deductions made on the Filipinos’ wages by their employers. There were workers who were forbidden from joining unions and some even said they were not allowed to post pictures on social media.
Some workers were found to crowded and expensive sleeping quarters.
The Filipino workers were found out to have incurred debts for their visa and immigration procedures and they are additionally burdened financially by having to support themselves and to remit money to their families back in the Philippines.
The study recommended that the government undertake studies on pay scales of the migrant and local workers and to address the poor working conditions of the workers and their other concerns on visas and immigration.
Domingo reiterated his reminder to Filipinos considering working and studying in New Zealand to make sure that the offers and promises are genuine and not misleading. /kga
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