Consulate in favor of proposed job agencies bill

Consul General Lilybeth Deapera

The Philippine Consulate General in the SAR celebrated the 120th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence yesterday, themed “Change we fought for, an offering to an abundant future.”

Consul General Lilybeth Deapera hoped that the development of the country will benefit all Filipinos – including those in Macau – and will allow them to attain easy access to education and health services.

Commenting on the proposed recruitment agency bill that is currently under discussion in Macau, the official believes that it would do more good than harm to Filipinos seeking jobs as domestic workers here.

Deapera has long been discouraging Filipino nationals in the SAR to seek jobs whilst on a tourist visa to avoid illegal practices, including abusive placement fees.

“In the end, it will be very good for us, especially as the sector that they are thinking of restricting [is] the domestic sector,” the official told the press.

“When you go to Macau from the Philippines and you undergo the process through the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) then you will have all documents, contracts well’negotiated, meaning the minimum wage is in place,” Deapera explained.

The official noted that going through POEA would require employers to pay a minimum of USD400, and would inform employers of the skills that they acquire, as they have attestation from the Philippine government.

“I think the [agency] cost is only minimal. Because we are aware with the line of work that they will be engaging [so it will] match with the salary that they’re supposed to be getting,” the official added.

Questioned by the Times whether these job seekers would be more prone to abusive placement fees by agencies in the SAR in the case of any loopholes that might be used by recruitment agencies, Deapera said that even now, domestic helpers do not report to relevant authorities regarding such practices.

“Macau laws are very detailed about these things. It just so happens that those who are victimized do not come forward to report to the Labour Affairs Bureau on what has happened to them,” she said.

“It would really be to their lookout. They [should] see that their rights are protected and recognized under Macau’s law.”

The consul general hinted that there was an increase in the requests for assistance from migrant workers in the SAR, and their families back home.

The consulate subsidized the repatriation of three Filipino nationals who passed away in the region due to sicknesses this year.

Meanwhile, the Consul General of the Indonesian Consulate in Hong Kong and Macau, Tri Tharyat echoed the same sentiments, noting that the proposed legislation – if it is passed – should be respected by migrant workers.

“I believe that whatever the decision will be taken, we will respect that. […] We have to be prepared for the changes if [the bill passes],” he said.

The Indonesian official noted that such a move will be similar to the situation in Hong Kong, where domestic workers are obliged to acquire a work permit before being granted a working visa.

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