Oct 22, 2018

For many of our fellow Filipinos, the decision to seek job opportunities and careers abroad is backed by more than just ambition. For most, it’s the search for greener pasture from which they could help build a better—more comfortable—future for their families.

The misconception most of us left here in the motherland is, that Filipinos working abroad would have it so easy, that earning and saving money is easier, and life is basically rainbows and butterflies. I mean, as long as you’re not in Manila (and beyond)’s trash-filled, blood-stained streets, right?

Wrong. As any person with an OFW family member would know, life ay be much more difficult. It’s not just about missing your loved ones and getting homesick, too. The financial hurdles they have to jump over just to even get out of the country are big enough. And a new law threatens to make it bigger.

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reports that a bill was passed last week requiring Filipino domestic workers “to pay about P2,400 or about HK$350 a month, for social insurance that provides retirement and health benefits through the country’s Social Security System (SSS) from next year.”

The bill also requires departing OFWs to pay “at least three monthly contributions before they can leave for their job destinations,” SCMP writes.

Aside from these two fees, United Filipinos in Hong Kong (Unifil) chairwoman Dolores Balladares-Pelaez said that helpers also have to pay other charges which total up to P26,000 (HK$3,800). She added that workers “are already being burdened with a ‘long list of fees that they need to pay before they can leave [for overseas work]…’” including training fees, medical and assessment tests, Pag-Ibig, and even fees to recruitment agencies.

These agencies, she said, would collect fees between P80,000 to P150,000 from OFWs looking for higher-paying jobs.

With all the bills to be paid—personally and for their families—just how long and how hard will our OFWs have to toil in other countries for a better life? Hopefully, the government and concerned government agencies will come up with policies and solutions that can actually help—not like this counterproductive mandatory fee.


Images courtesy of Unsplash

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TAGS: domestic workers Filipinos hong kong ofws overseas filipino workers social security system sss