Deployment freeze on Filipino maids remains

(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Deployment freeze on Filipino domestic workers pending verification of contract still stands, according to Ophelia Almenario, Philippine labour attaché.

According to Almenario, the issue is "still under negotiation" between the Philippines and the UAE governments and "there is no lifting or easing-off" of the suspension.

She said nothing has changed since June last year and that the Philippine government's policy of "no verification, no deployment" is still in effect.

"As of now, there is no deployment of household workers; it's the same status as last year. We have already issued a statement to the UAE government regarding the unified contract and so far there is no (concession)," Almenario told Khaleej Times.

Her statement followed claims by some manpower agencies that the Philippine embassy will be relaxing its conditions in the coming days.

"We've heard this from sponsors themselves who said the embassy will be opening the deployment this January. Everyone (employers) was calling us and asking for confirmation but so far we haven't heard anything from the embassy," said a staff at Global Recruitment.

In June last year, the Ministry of Interior introduced a unified contract for domestic workers, which meant that the contracts between Filipino housemaids and employers here need not be attested by the embassy.

The Philippine laws and regulations require that contracts of its citizens who will be working overseas have to be verified by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) or the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (Polo) in diplomatic missions of host countries.

The contract verification ensures that Filipino workers' rights are protected in terms of receiving a salary not below $400 (Dh1,500), the ability of the employer to pay the worker and that the employment conditions meet the minimum requirements set forth by the POEA.

High demand

Filipino domestic workers are in high demand in the UAE. Although wages for them are higher compared to their peers in other countries € Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh € they are being sought after by employers primarily for their ability to communicate in English and their work ethics.

According to agencies here, majority of their callers are still inquiring for Filipino helpers.

"Many are also walking in asking for Filipinas and when we tell them that hiring has stopped, they just leave. Others, who have no choice, take domestic help of other nationalities that we offer," a staff at another recruitment agency in the Capital said.

Mariam Umagar, a staff from Liberty Manpower Services, said that her office previously received about 30 calls a day looking for Filipino housemaids, and majority of the callers were Emiratis.

"Before the (suspension), we processed between 30 and 40 documents a month for Filipino housemaids alone," she added.

Global Recruitment also said that on an average they see about 40 arrivals per month for Filipino workers.

The Philippine diplomatic missions previously receive about 300 domestic contracts daily for verification from around 224 manpower agencies - 88 in Abu Dhabi and 112 in Dubai.

An estimated 125,000 or 20.8 per cent of 600,000 Filipinos in the UAE are domestic workers.

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