Majority of 10,000 Pinoys in Russia undocumented
MANILA, Philippines — Majority of the estimated 10,000 Filipinos working in Russia are without proper papers, making them prone to arrest, detention and deportation, according to outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Arroyo spoke at the recently-concluded St. Petersburg International Economic Forum to advocate for the welfare of the mostly undocumented Filipino workers in Russia, and to push for a labor deal between Moscow and Manila.
“The vast majority of Filipino workers in Russia are household workers and nannies, but except for around 200, all of them—from 5,000 to 10,000—are undocumented. They pay as much as $3,800 for improper or manufactured visas,” she said.
As a result, Arroyo said, “they are always on the radar of the police, under constant threat of arrest and deportation.”
“Crimes against them go unreported for fear of deportation. They fall victim to illegal recruiters and human traffickers,” she said in a statement.
Arroyo said a labor agreement between the two counties would serve the interests of the two nations.
“What is the solution to maximize the potential of our Filipino workers to contribute to Russian development and investment attractiveness? The solution is a labor agreement between our two countries,” she said.
“I understand we have vast experience in this area and have found that the interests of both sending and receiving states are served by the agreement. I understand we have had several discussions on this, and that in May last year the Philippines formally submitted a draft labor agreement to Russia,” the Speaker said.
Such a labor agreement, she proposed, would be one that “allows Filipinos to legally stay and work in Russia, to make meaningful contributions to Russian families and society, to bring our people closer, to foster greater understanding.”
In a Facebook post, Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta cited positive responses from the Russian side.
He quoted Kirill Adzinov, head of the visa department of Russia’s interior ministry, as saying his government recognizes the problem faced by Filipino workers in Russia and believes a labor agreement is a solution but this should be negotiated carefully.
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