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Serving OFWs: New online platform against abusive overseas employment practices

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To provide counter measures against abusive employment practices suffered by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), a new online portal was launched on Thursday, July 26, 2018, to avoid erring recruitment agencies and employers.

The new online platform that can be accessed at https://www.recruitmentadvisor.org/ was developed by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in partnership with the International Labor Organization (ILO). It is designed to allow migrant workers to comment on their experiences, rate the recruitment agencies, and learn about their rights.

Khalid Hassan, director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines, said: “Migration should be a choice. The ILO supports countries like the Philippines in protecting the welfare of migrant workers through fair recruitment and rights-based migration.”

“The Migrant Recruitment Advisor (MRA) can help prospective Filipino migrant workers make informed decision or choice by going through online reviews,” Hassan said .

The MRA was officially launched in the Philippines after a series of regional consultations and launches held in Davao and Cebu.

Available in English and Filipino the platform features licensed recruitment agencies of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

Various governments provided the list of licensed agencies and a network of trade unions and civil society organizations in target countries, such as Nepal, Philippines, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore.

The sustainability of the platform is ensured by reaching out to workers and speaking to them about their rights.

The MRA will promote recruiters who follow a fair recruitment process based on the ILO General Principles and Operational Guidelines for Fair Recruitment.

Useful feedback to governments regarding the practices of licensed recruitment agencies, which could be used to complement more traditional monitoring systems, will also be provided by the MRA.

ITUC general secretary, Sharan Burrow said that recruitment is a critical stage when migrant workers are more vulnerable to abuse.

“Unscrupulous recruitment agencies take advantage of the lack of law enforcement by governments or because workers are simply not aware of their rights. It’s time to put power back into workers’ hands to rate the recruitment agencies and show whether their promises of jobs and wages are delivered,” Burrow said.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are more than 2.3 million OFWs around the world in almost all countries. Among the leading OFWs destinations are Saudi Arabia (24%), United Arab Emirates (16%), Europe (6.6%),Kuwait (6.4%), and Qatar (6.2%).

About 3,000 Filipino workers leave the country daily to work abroad.

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