PH to deploy 1000 Filipino workers to Czech Republic

Published June 4, 2018, 3:43 PM

by iManila Developer

By Roy Mabasa

The Philippines and the Czech Republic have agreed to start processing the deployment of 1,000 skilled Filipino workers to the central European country under a temporary “private-to-private” (P2P) arrangement.

MB FILE—Prospective OFWs queue up at the newly opened "One-Stop Service Center” for OFWs at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration building in Mandaluyong. (FEDERICO CRUZ / MANILA BULLETIN)
OFWs at POEA office / Manila Bulletin file photo

This surfaced following the recent visit of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) representatives led by Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) administrator Bernard Olalia to the capital city of Prague.

In a meeting between Olalia and Czech Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs Martin Smolek, both sides decided to undertake the initiatory stage of the recruitment under a P2P arrangement subject to performance review after six months.

After the initial period, both countries can decide whether to have a memorandum of understanding and a more binding agreement or proceed under a government-to-government arrangement.

“The visit of administrator Olalia strengthened Philippines-Czech relations which is celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations. The high-level government visit shows and the bilateral meetings demonstrate the strong coordination of the Department of Foreign Affairs, DOLE and POEA,” Philippine Embassy charge’ d’ affaires Jed Dayang said during last week’s “Kapihan sa Embahada.”

To further hasten the process, the Philippines will immediately provide its counterpart a model contract, written in both Czech and English languages, and a list of private recruitment agencies in the Philippines, not limited to the initial nine companies that were identified in their previous communications.

During the four-day visit, Olalia also met with officials from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Ministry of Trade, as well as with the members of the Czech Chamber of Trade and Industry and Czech Invest.

According to Dayang, the visit is the first-ever high-level meeting with key government agency representatives from both sides concerning the hiring of 1,000 Filipino workers to the Czech Republic.

Olalia also met with the representatives of Czech recruiters and the Filipino community where they discussed the whole government program for workers protection under the banner of ethical recruitment being advocated by the Philippine Embassy in Prague.

Under an ethical recruitment arrangement, no fees shall be collected from OFWs.

Dayang expressed hope that the entry of 1,000 workers through ethical recruitment becomes a model for other countries in workers protection by “doing things right the first time and every time.”

The Philippine Embassy in Prague has noted that some Czech recruitment agencies that work with their counterpart agencies in the Philippines charge placement fees to workers including to household service workers (HSW).

So far, an initial 40 applications have already been received by Czech’s Ministry of Interior under the new scheme that started this month, according to Dayang.

The Embassy said a huge hospital facility, the Karlovy Vary Hospital, located some 130 kilometers from Prague, has also expressed its keen interest in hiring Filipino nurses from the Philippines and even offered to provide language training to prospective hires.

The Czech Republic’s decision to hire 1,000 workers from the Philippines was originally introduced on January 31, 2018 through legislation by the government of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

In a chanced meeting in January, Prime Minister Babiš informed Dayang that the Philippines was included in the Czech’s restrictive economic workers program that was started for Ukraine and Mongolia.