On time-honored bonds: Philippines-Austria Friendship Week

Ambassador Johann Brieger of the Austrian Embassy with Mme. Roswitha Brieger

Surrounded by a lively showcase of cultural pride and mutual respect, the Republic of Austria and the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) of the Philippines jump-started the Philippines-Austria Friendship Week on May 15, 2024. Held at the DMW Head Office in Mandaluyong City, this event marked a renewed commitment to their time-honored friendship and collaboration in labor affairs, emphasizing the protection and welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). The festivities were a colorful blend of traditional Filipino and Austrian cultural performances, setting the stage for a week dedicated to reinforcing and expanding labor cooperation between the two nations.

austria 1.jpg
Department of Migrant Workers’ Patricia Yvonne Caunan, Ambassador Johann Brieger of the Austrian Embassy, and Advantage Austria’s Ma. Teresa Francisco

The celebration featured addresses from key figures such as Austrian Ambassador Johann Brieger, Director General Georg Konetzky of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labor and Economy, Secretary-General Karlheinz Kopf of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Commerce, and DMW Secretary Hans Cacdac. The festivities highlighted traditional Filipino and Austrian cultural performances, symbolizing the rich cultural exchange and cooperation between the countries.

Secretary General Karlheinz Kopf of the National Council of Austria

During the event, a noteworthy announcement was made regarding the establishment of the Migrant Workers Office (MWO) in Vienna, scheduled for the third quarter of the year. This initiative is designed to address the growing population of OFWs in Austria while offering Austrian employers assistance in navigating the legal intricacies of recruiting and deploying Filipino workers.

Austria 9.jpg
EU Minister Counsellor Philipp Dupuis, Christoph Wagner, Prime Manpower’s Kisset De Guzman, and spouse

Secretary Cacdac emphasized that the partnership goes beyond celebrating mutual friendship. It aims to enhance collaboration, particularly in deploying Filipino professionals and skilled workers to Austria. The Austrian government has expressed its intent to hire an additional 500 workers annually, a move still in the planning stages. This follows a remarkable 127 percent increase in the deployment of Filipino workers to Austria in 2022, highlighting Austria as an emerging labor market in Central Europe.

austria 10.jpg
Federal Ministry of the Republic of Austria’s Dr. Marina Kolb, Elisabeth Weissenbock, and Sylvia Vana

Austria is currently home to over 5,000 Filipino migrants, predominantly employed in the hospitality, food service, and healthcare sectors. The partnership between the Philippines and Austria ensures the safe and ethical recruitment of Filipino workers, paving the way for a brighter future for both nations.

austria 11.jpg
Marie Cris Gambal, Claudia Fida, Christian Hallerbach, and Raphael Rey Bacolod

Director General Konetzky acknowledged Austria's decades of positive experience with qualified Filipino workers, particularly in healthcare. He expressed gratitude for the skilled support provided by Filipino workers and reiterated Austria's commitment to safe and ethical labor migration practices.

Austria 12.jpg
Manila Bulletin’s Badette Cunanan, Frederic Metlewicz, Mme. Roswitha Brieger, Lina Sy, and Mario Tan Zinampan
Austria 13.jpg
Wolfgang Deuringer with spouse Annaliza Deuringer of Wolfgang Deuringe Consulting

The Friendship Week marks a significant milestone in fostering Austrian-Philippine economic relations, especially in meeting Austria's labor demand and supporting the growth of its economy through the deployment of skilled Filipino workers. The ongoing cooperation ensures not only the protection and welfare of OFWs but also the strengthening bonds and economic ties between the two nations.

austria 15.jpg
Frederic Metlewicz, Brenda Gmasz, Marc Capistrano, Kay Quintos, and Mario Tan Zinampan
austria 16.jpg
Tamara Sklepic and Jann Siefken