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POEA blamed for OFW woes in NZ job market

02:42 AM December 10, 2015

THIS IS a reaction to the letter titled “Filipino workers beware” sent by Cristobal Espinosa and Mely Feria (Opinion, 12/5/15).

Filipinos are well-protected under New Zealand’s employment laws, which are rigorously enforced by the government department responsible. Employers must have individual contracts with all workers, including migrant workers from the Philippines. If employers are in breach of these contracts they are prosecuted. These contracts are checked by New Zealand’s Immigration before work visas are approved.

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It is sad that some Filipinos desperate to find job have falsified their curriculum vitae in order to qualify to migrate to New Zealand as economic refugees and in order to convince prospective employers that they have skills that they do not have.

This has damaged the reputation of the Philippines as a reliable source of skilled workers, causing employers to get workers elsewhere. Most often, in such cases of fraud and misrepresentation, like those cited by Espinosa and Feria, Filipino agents are involved.

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With hundreds of migrants from all over the world settling in New Zealand, the competition for jobs is increasingly becoming stiffer among migrant workers. The recent foolish decision of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to require employers to pay all costs involved in hiring Filipinos, plus the unacceptable guarantees that employers are required to make, has resulted in the majority of New Zealand employers refusing to accept workers from the Philippines. No other country imposes such regulatory requirements on New Zealand employers, and the latter do not lack qualified applicants from other countries to choose from.

One has to question the wisdom of the POEA which has made it so difficult for Filipinos to get a job in New Zealand. For that matter one has to ask why there is a need for the POEA at all; other countries have existing labor laws that effectively protect workers.

Migrant workers going to New Zealand can bring their families with them. Hundreds of the migrants we have sent to that country are now New Zealand residents, and many of them are now even New Zealand citizens. Workers in New Zealand are not bound to stay with an employer if they get a better job offer elsewhere; if their employer is not treating them properly; or simply, if they want to move to another employer.

Ever since the founding of New Zealand in 1840, migrants have always paid their own way to New Zealand; they still do, coming from all countries—except the Philippines. The regulatory requirements of the POEA, rather than protecting Filipino workers, are deliberately keeping them enslaved in poverty in the Philippines.

—BRUCE PORTEOUS,

Immigration Placement Services Ltd.,

bruce@immigratenz.co.nz

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TAGS: Employment Laws, Immigration, New Zealand, OFW, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, POEA
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