Undocumented Filippino workers may not be able to return to MENA

Published October 24th, 2012 - 08:59 GMT
There are 23,000 Filipino workers in Jordan alone
There are 23,000 Filipino workers in Jordan alone

The Philippine government has lifted a temporary deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers to Jordan and Lebanon, a senior official said.

OFWs in Jordan should not worry about coming home for the holidays. But OFWs who have been illegally deployed in Lebanon would not be go back to the country if they come home without contracts from their employers that conform with the Philippine government’s reform package for overseas Filipino household workers, a source who requested for anonymity told Gulf News.

“The governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has agreed to lift the temporary suspension of deployment of newly-hired household workers for the Kingdom of Jordan,” Labour Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said, adding, “This means the deployment ban to Jordan is now 100 per cent lifted and our workers there can now return home, and we can also send newly-hired workers there.”

The Philippines deployed close to 6,000 Filipino household workers to Jordan from 2006 to 2011. After the ban on deployment, due to abuses committed against them, thousands of them continued to sneak into Jordan.

As a result, 90 per cent of the more than 23,000 Filipino workers in Jordan are not properly documented, said Baldoz.

Meanwhile, POEA’s governing board has “partially lifted” the government’s deployment ban in Lebanon.

“We are still awaiting the completion of the negotiation of representatives of Lebanon and the Philippines for a new standard employment contract for Filipino household workers [for the protection of our workers],” said Baldoz.

“Our workers who were legally deployed there before the Philippine government’s ban took effect several years ago can now go home for a vacation,” said Baldoz.

The Philippine government will allow the return of vacationing OFWs to Lebanon if they could secure contracts from their Lebanese employers that comply with the Philippine (government’s) reform package for household workers (being sent abroad), said Baldoz.

The Philippine government has been negotiating a minimum monthly salary of $400 for Filipino household workers in Lebanon.

Undocumented OFWs who have no proper contracts from their Lebanese employers will not be allowed to return to Lebanon, Baldoz said.

There are 25,000 documented Filipino household workers in Lebanon. About 13,000 of them have scheduled to return to the Philippines for the holiday season.

The Philippine government banned the deployment of OFWs to Lebanon due to the political conflict there.

A total of nine million OFWs are based worldwide. They represent about 10 per cent of the country’s population.

OFWs have remitted $20 billion to their relatives in the Philippines in 2011. They have been a major source of high government revenues, making them responsible for keeping the country’s economy buoyant.

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