Group to POEA: Allow 2,000 stranded OFWs to fly to HK

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The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency in Mandaluyong City, Philippines. (SOURCE: Philippine News Agency)

A group called on the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) to dispense of the documentary requirements that around 2,000 outgoing Filipino household service workers could not get due to the Metro Manila lockdown.

The Society of Hong Kong Accredited Recruiters of the Philippines (SHARP) in a statement Sunday said 2,000 or so Filipino workers bound for Hong Kong have been stranded in the Philippines since March.

A 2006 POEA resolution stated those who will work as foreign domestic workers have to undergo a National Certificate for Household Service Workers Course (NCII) approved by the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

They must also attend a language and culture orientation facilitated by the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (OWWA).

However, the group said in its statement that due to the lockdown, government offices were closed and certifications from the OWWA as well as TESDA were harder to procure.

SHARP claimed most of the workers have already gotten their work visas from Hong Kong, and most of them have expired. Yet their employers are willing to extend their work visas as long as they are able to acquire overseas employment certificates for their departure.

Most of these stranded OFWs have previously been abroad and have already acquired NC II certifications that only need revalidation from TESDA, it added.

“They are very qualified to undertake the domestic work in Hong Kong and Hong Kong is one of the most sought after destination of domestic workers not only because of the ₱30,000 monthly salary and ₱7,000 meal allowance given by their employers and it does not have welfare cases,” the group explained.