Last month, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) launched the new Special Hiring Program for Taiwan (SHPT).
According to them, this initiative aims to reduce excessive fees that OWFs often experience when they apply for jobs overseas. They also explained that this is actually a special agreement between Philippines and Taiwan and they hope to simplify the entire application process. In particular, Taiwan is interested to hire Filipino workers in different sectors such as care giving, construction, fishery, and manufacturing, among many others.
Rosalinda Baldoz, Labor and Employment Secretary said that “This form of direct hiring will serve as an alternative to agency hiring and brokers without (the applicants) paying any fees since POEA will handle it.”
Applicants will be required to pay P30,000 so they can use POEA’s International Direct E-Recruitment System (IDES). This is significantly less expensive compared to the usual P90,000 to P160,000 that OFWs typically spend when they conduct their transactions with recruitment agencies.
This, however, did not sit well with some OFW individuals and organizations.
Ramon Bultron, Managing Director of the Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) said that “While the system may give potential OFWs a respite from excessive illegal fees charged by recruitment agencies, one cannot deny that it is now the POEA directly charging recruitment fees.”
Bultron pointed out that POEA should be transparent about the said fee. Will it include medicals examination, passport renewal, and other related expenses? If not, Bultron said the total costs could rack up to P50,000 or more which, in the long run, will not be a big difference after all.
“How will it be any different from the direct hiring program that has been implemented by the Taiwan authorities long before the SHPT?” Bultron questioned.“It is usually employers of home-based caregivers who avail of this service and they let their migrant workers do the work. Taiwanese who own small factories and many others would rather go to a broker possibly because they just don’t have the manpower to do it.”
Bultron concluded “OFWs are burdened enough with problems from the time they apply in the Philippines until they arrive in Taiwan. It is important for the POEA to explain how this new service will not add to the problems of Filipinos, not to mention the need for them to immediately address the problems faced by OFWs in Taiwan.”