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POEA to OFWs: Do not leave as tourists

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration yesterday warned Filipinos who wish to work abroad on the modus operandi of unscrupulous illegal recruiters enticing workers, especially household service workers (HSWs), to procure and use visit or tourist visa in order to secure overseas employment.

Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac said Filipinos wanting overseas jobs should make sure they have approved and appropriate work permit or work visa before they leave the country. They should not accept job offers if they are to leave using tourist visa even with the assurance from the recruiters that they will find employment for them upon arrival in the country of destination.

“Foreign workers without proper employment documents cannot work legally in any country and are constant target of crackdowns. They are also more prone to exploitation by employers,” Cacdac said.

The POEA administrator cited Dubai as one of the favorite destinations of Filipino “tourists” wanting to find work overseas with the proliferation of advertisements in the social media offering plane tickets bundled with a 30-day visit visa at very low rates.

“Unfortunately, it is not easy to find work in Dubai. Holding a visit visa which will expire in a month, the worker could be pressured to agree to a substandard employment contract and submit to physical and emotional abuse just to have a work visa,” Cacdac said.

Cacdac also said OFWs should not be easily swayed by illegal recruiters and traffickers who promise immediate deployment to Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and other Asean countries where visit visa is not prior requirement from citizens of its members.

“The legal way is to obtain an employment contract and employment visa or work permit and submit them to the POEA for processing and issuance of exit clearance,” Cacdac added.

He also reminded workers of the strict procedure being implemented by the Bureau of Immigration in screening Filipinos leaving as tourist. A traveler found to be misrepresenting the purpose of the foreign trip will not be allowed to board the plane.

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