OFW deployment to Korea declines

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE recruitment industry yesterday bewailed that the highly-touted government program of deploying Filipino workers to Korea through the employment permit system suffered massive decline in 2007.

Records from the POEA show that new hires to Korea decreased from 10,575 in 2006 to only 6,452 in 2007.

Total deployment of workers, including new-hires in 2007, were 14,265 as against 13,984 in 2006.

Emmanuel Geslani, recruitment industry consultant, said the program has been disadvantageous to the Filipino worker despite availability of jobs in Korea.

“The government should be very transparent to our OFWS regarding the actual working conditions in South Korea,” he said.

Geslani attributed the loss to the DOLE officials in Korea’s inability to handle hundreds of cases involving labor problems between private employers and to the EPS workers’ lack of knowledge on Korean laws and culture.

Due to rising number of runaways leaving their jobsites and seeking employment with other Korean employers, the POEA decided to slow down the processing of EPS workers in the middle of 2007 and refused to register the hundreds of thousands eager applicants for EPS workers to Korea.

The POEA will sign a new memorandum of understanding with the Korean government on a new batch of workers to be sent in 2008-2009 and private recruitment agencies who were at the forefront of OFW deployment to Korea were asking why the government insists on taking over the function of private recruitment agencies in the deployment of OFWs abroad.

The industry consultant said the POEA violates its own rules on the sending of workers to Korea as each applicant spends no less than P30,000 for the official documentation and mobilization costs involved in the selection and deployment of OFWs to Korea.

Under POEA rules, airfare is always paid for by each employer or principal and other costs needed for mobilization may or not be paid by principals.

An OFW has to pass the Korean language test which is a requirement in applying for a job in Korea.

Only those who pass the KLT test, which costs $30, are officially registered with the EPS selection list handled by the POEA and sent to Ministry of Labor & Human Resources Division in Korea.