Protecting OFWs from human traffickers

From the Department of Labor and Employment

A new labor agreement with New Zealand enforces a no-placement fee for workers going to the country and prosecutes illegal recruiters and human traffickers. 

Stock photo
Stock photo

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and New Zealand Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michel Woodhouse yesterday signed a labor cooperation agreement that strongly implements a no-placement fee for overseas Filipino workers going to New Zealand, clamps down on illegal recruiters and agents, and prosecutes perpetrators of document fraud and other recruitment anomalies.

Secretary Baldoz and Minister Woodhouse signed the “Arrangement on the Principles and Controls on the Recruitment and Protection of Filipino Workers in New Zealand”, in the presence of Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Virginia Benavidez, and top officials of New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment.

“Two countries working together to eliminate costly job placement and other recruitment-related fees, illegal recruitment and human trafficking, document fraud and fake training and qualifications credentials will make a strong case for a model bilateral arrangement for other sending and receiving countries to emulate,” she said.

The agreement spells out the areas of cooperation between the Philippines and New Zealand, particularly in the regulation of the deployment of OFWs. Under the agreement, the two countries committed to work together in the promotion of compliance with recruitment, employment, and immigration laws of both countries through a targeted program of action, such as the audit of sectors where OFWs are engaged in.

The new agreement also details the cooperation priorities of the two countries, such as promoting transparent, ethical, and equitable recruitment and employment practices consistent with the Philippine Labor Code

Other cooperation priorities include the enforcement of laws and regulations on non-payment of recruitment and placement fees by OFWs; ensuring that the terms and conditions offered to OFWs reflect their actual terms and conditions in New Zealand; ensuring that OFWs are made aware of their immigration and employment rights; facilitating linkages between employers and recruitment agencies; and ensuring assistance in the maintenance of the law, including the prevention, and investigation of offenses in either the Philippines and New Zealand.