Stricter documentation and processing requirements plus an approval from the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is now required for foreign employers who wants to hire Filipino workers directly. This is in compliance with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Memorandum Circular No. 4 regarding the direct hiring of Filipino workers.
Under the new rule which took effect last January 15; foreign employers need to go through the screening process of labor attaché or the Philippine embassy to get the approval of the DOLE secretary. The POEA memorandum also obliges employers to present a performance bond (amounting to the workers’ 3-month salary), a repatriation bond (USD 5,000), and medical insurance. Employers who refuse to abide by the bonding and insurance requirements and the standard employment contract may hire Filipino workers only through licensed recruitment agencies willing to assume responsibility for the employees.
The circular allows direct hiring for members of the diplomatic corps and of international organizations, government officials of ministerial level, and employers who are hiring on a one-time or trial basis. It limits the number of direct-hire employees to no more than five.
Arturo Brion, DOLE Secretary and chairman of the POEA board said, “These new guidelines would provide more protection for direct-hire OFWs. Filipino workers with employment contracts and work visas issued after January 15, 2008 will be covered by the new guidelines.”
Direct hires are usually household service workers (HSWs) who tend to be abused by their employers. POEA guidelines on HSWs, requiring them to train in household work and the host country’s language, will still apply to them. However, some placement agencies view the new rules as a bureaucratic layer that would be a burden for employers and therefore delay the employment of OFWs.
A consultant to the recruitment industry and several licensed agencies, Emmanuel Geslani said, “The new guidelines will reduce the chances of OFWs finding employers through their own efforts. Foreign employers will be turned off by the bonds required of them.”
Source: Information and Publication Service