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Thursday, October 02, 2008

RP, Alberta Forge Agreement on OFW Deployment

The Department of Labor and Employment on October 1 entered into an agreement with the Canadian Province of Alberta that would provide for their collaboration and cooperation in the exploration of opportunities for human resource development and the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Alberta.

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque signed for the Philippine side while Alberta was represented by its Minister of Employment and Immigration Hector Goudreau.

Roque said the DOLE and E & I would cooperate primarily for the ethical recruitment, selection, and protection and skills development of OFWs who would be deployed to Alberta in line with the laws and standards of the Philippines, Alberta, and that of international bodies.

He noted that Alberta has recognized the capabilities of OFWs to fill its skills requirements, like the other Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Manitoba, which also forged similar agreements with the DOLE.

The DOLE Chief said the MOUs with the four Canadian provinces underscore efforts aimed at ensuring that Filipino workers seeking overseas employment are afforded ample protection from unscrupulous illegal recruiters and exploitative employers overseas.

Roque cited the agreement with Alberta, wherein the DOLE and E & I would prioritize their cooperation and collaboration on the following initiatives:

Expedite the approval of selected OFWs for employment opportunities in Alberta, ensure that Alberta’s occupational standards are met through training and credential recognition activities, provide programs for the well being and protection of OFWs in coordination with employers, promote sound and equitable recruitment and employment practices, and establish other areas for collaboration such as HRD programs.

Both parties, he said, shall establish a working committee tasked to coordinate activities on their shared priorities.

In line with the priorities, Roque said the DOLE shall develop mechanisms to facilitate the deployment of qualified OFWs to Alberta. E & I for its part, will encourage Alberta employers who recruit Filipino workers working temporarily outside the Philippines to course their manpower request through the nearest Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and to advise the said office of the names and employment particulars of the workers shortly after their arrival.

The DOLE Chief also mentioned that OFWs who would like to work in Alberta should still apply for relevant vacancies through recruitment agencies authorized to recruit workers for Canada.

He emphasized that all recruitment costs related to the hiring of OFWs under the MOU shall be covered by the employers in Canada. Hence, the employment agency in Canada and the recruitment or sending agency in the Philippines are not allowed to charge any recruitment fees in any form from OFWs bound for Alberta.

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