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Philippines government places new demands on NZ employers

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

By Sebastian Shaw

Over the last decade Filipino’s have become popular with New Zealand employers, especially in the agriculture, health and construction sectors. To regulate and monitor Filipinos working overseas the Philippines Government has established an Agency known as the Philippines Overseas Employment Agency (POEA). Unfortunately, due to excessive red-tape in hiring workers from the Philippines many employers will no longer willing to employ Filipinos, preferring to hire workers from other countries.

Before hiring workers from the Philippines, the POEA now have insists that all job orders from New Zealand employers to submit their requests to the Philippines Overseas Labour Office (POLO) in Canberra for verification. This requirement is for the POEA to verify that the job orders exist and to collect a "processing fee" from the employers. Obtaining approval from the POEA is more difficult because of the red-tape and obtaining a work visa from Immigration NZ,

On verification these documents are then sent to Manila to be "processed" by the POEA before an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is issued, which is required before workers can obtain permission to leave the Philippines to work abroad. This whole process costs employers time and money that they do not have to spend when hiring from other countries.

All this red-tape is unnecessary as Immigration NZ will check and approve all employment contracts are valid before a work visa is approved. Why then is this dysfunctional Philippines Government agency requiring NZ employers to submit job orders to the Philippines Overseas Labour Office (POLO) for verification to Australia when this is done previously by Immigration NZ? Sadly, many New Zealand employers will no longer hire Filipino workers because of the unnecessary red-tape of the POEA that they are now required to comply with.

If this was not bad enough, the POEA is now insisting that NZ employers pay for:

a/ Workers food while working in NZ

b/ Their accommodation

c/ Free medical and dental care

d/ Provide assistance to employees in remitting money back to the Philippines

e/ Free life insurance

This is in addition to employers having to pay the equivalent to the wages that are paid to New Zealanders working in the same position.

As a result of the POEA enforcing these new requirements NZ employers will no longer be able to afford to hire Filipino workers. Sadly, this will only add to the poverty in the Philippines where the Government has failed to reduce the level of poverty created by poor economic management and corruption. The number of Filipinos forced to flee the country as economic refugees to seek employment abroad continues to grow.

Today Filipino overseas foreign workers (OFWs) can be found working in almost every country in the world. The money sent back from the Philippines sustains the local economy, being the number one sources of overseas funds. Yet the government continues to tax and abuse the basic human rights of these workers. Rather than support their citizens, the Philippines Government see them as a cash-cow to support their economy.

Sebastian Shaw is an immigration consultant specialising in assisting overseas workers. 

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