Philippines government disclosed 41 countries ban for OFW deployment and 125 OK

The new list of countries that comply with Philippine government standards that protect overseas Filipino workers (OFW) does not include six top OFW destinations.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) released two board resolutions on Wednesday November 02, 2011 — one that approves OFW deployment to 76 countries and another that bans OFWs from 41 nations.

The countries were classified according to Republic Act 10022, or the amended Migrant Workers Act.

However, six of the top ten destinations for OFWs were not found on both lists. These include:

1.      Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the top OFW destination in 2010;

2.      United Arab Emirates (UAE), the second in last year's top 10 destinations;

3.      Qatar (fourth);

4.      Singapore (fifth);

5.      Kuwait (sixth); and

6.      Bahrain (ninth)

According to the POEA, OFWs can still be sent to these countries, which would be subject to "further review and evaluation."

In May, the POEA’s Governing Board (GB) Resolution No. 2 listing 76 countries that were OFW-friendly.

Resolution No. 2 said, “In the meantime, the deployment of OFWs to these countries [not included in the list] shall continue except where deployment ban is in effect."

On Wednesday, POEA's Resolution No. 6 identified 49 more countries that were OFW-friendly.

Meanwhile, GB Resolution No. 7— also released on Wednesday— banned deployment to 41 countries.

Resolution No. 2 was issued around two months after RA 10022 lapsed into law. The list of OFW countries included:

4 countries in Africa;

21 in North and South America;

32 in Europe;

17 in Asia Pacific; and

2  in the Middle East.

Deployment ban

In an interview on dzBB radio, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the ban will affect “a little over 200" OFWs, who can avail of the government’s integration program if they wish to return home.

The POEA is an attached agency of the DOLE.

Baldoz, who also heads the governing board that issued the resolutions, also said the countries on the list are not considered major receiving countries.

Many of the OFWs in these countries will not be affected by the ban since they were deployed by globally operated companies, she added.

OFW-friendly

According to Section 3 of RA 10022, “the State shall allow the deployment of overseas Filipino workers only in countries where the rights of Filipino migrant workers are protected."

The section provides that the Philippines will allow deployment if the host country:

·        has existing labor and social laws protecting the rights of workers;

·        is a signatory to and/or a ratifier of multilateral conventions, declarations or resolutions relating to the protection of workers; and

·        has conducted a bilateral agreement or arrangement with the government on the protection of the rights of OFWs.

The POEA will publish the resolutions in two newspapers of general circulation and will take effect 15 days after publication.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Baldoz said, "GB Resolution No.7, specifies a list of 41 countries where OFWs cannot be deployed for non-compliance with the guarantees required under R.A. 10022."

Baldoz said the Philippine government can consider as 'compliant' countries taking positive, concrete measures to protect the rights of migrant workers based on the provisions of RA 10022.

She clarified that non-compliant countries may push for bilateral agreements with the Philippines to address the "non-compliances."

She also said Filipino workers can still be deployed to companies with international operations in non-compliant "unless there is an existing ban to that country.

The Philippine government has an existing deployment ban to conflict affected countries like Lebanon, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria and partial ban to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) showed on Wednesday the list of 41 countries where overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) cannot be deployed or ban for deployment.

The list includes prohibited prime destinations like (Ban of Deployment of OFWs or OFW is not allowed to work in the following countries :)

1.      Afghanistan

2.      Lebanon

3.      Libya.

Aside from these three major OFW destinations, other non-compliant countries included

4.      Antigua and Barbuda

5.      Barbados

6.      Cambodia

7.      Cayman Islands

8.      Chad

9.      Croatia

10. Cuba

11. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or North Korea

12. Dominica

13. East Timor or Timor Leste

14. Eritrea

15. Haiti

16. India

17. Iraq

18. Kyrgyzstan or Kyrgyz Republic

19. Lesotho.

20. Mali

21. Mauritania

22. Montenegro

23. Mozambique

24. Nauru

25. Nepal

26. Niger

27. Pakistan

28. Palestine

29. Serbia

30. St. Kitts and Nevis

31. St. Lucia

32. St. Vincent and Grenadines

33. Sudan

34. Swaziland

35. Tajikistan

36. Tonga

37. Turks and Caicos

38. Tuvalu

39. US Virgin Islands

40. Vanuatu

41. Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, POEA also issued the list of 49 compliant countries on Wednesday, which means OFWs are allowed to work in the following 49 countries which includes

1.      Armenia

2.      Bahamas

3.      Bangladesh

4.      Belarus

5.      Benin

6.      Bermuda

7.      Burkina Faso

8.      Burundi

9.      Cameroon

10. Cape Verde

11. Central African Republic

12. Comoros

13. Congo Republic

14. Cook Islands

15. Democratic Republic of Congo

16. Denmark

17. Equatorial Guinea

18. Fiji

19. Gabon

20. Gambia

21. Ghana

22. Grenada

23. Guinea

24. Guinea Bissau

25. Guyana.

26. Iceland

27. Ivory Coast or Cote d’Ivoire

28. Jordan

29. Kazakhstan

30. Liberia

31. Madagascar

32. Malawi

33. Malta

34. Mauritius

35. Morocco

36. Nigeria

37. Norway

38. Puerto Rico

39. Rwanda

40. Sao Tome and Principe

41. Senegal

42. Seychelles

43. Sierra Leone

44. Tanzania

45. Togo

46. Trinidad and Tobago

47. Tunisia

48. Uganda

49. Ukraine

This brings the total number of compliant countries to 125.

In order for the listed 41 listed countries to be open for OFW, those countries must have to comply the standard required by the Philippines government.

East Asian countries like Japan and South Korea who have a construction business in the 41 listed ban countries for OFW are not allowed to hire OFW for deployment to the above listed 41 ban countries like Engineers, Accountant, professionals  and any skilled Filipinos.

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