Filipino overseas workers in Hong Kong have accused personnel of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office for causing confusion that has resulted in the rejection of their contract and double payment of fees.
“It is a double whammy for OFWs [overseas Filipino workers]due mainly to the lack of information and foresight of the Philippine Consulate General through the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO). They already knew that the HK’s Immigration Department will not be processing old contracts anymore starting February, and yet they processed old contracts they knew that they could only give back to the applicant for submission to the immigration by the said date or even after,” Dolores Balladares, chairman of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong (UNIFIL-MIGRANTE-HK), said.
Many Filipino domestic workers complained that they were not aware of the new (blue) contract from the Immigration department when they submitted the old (green) employment contract processed at the POLO office.
Because of this confusion, they were then asked to return to the consulate and process the correct paper.
“However, instead of making amends for their failure to inform OFWs thus creating confusion among the migrant workers, the POLO added more misery for them when they were required to pay another processing fee for the blue color contract. Should OFWs be punished and penalized for the incompetence of government officials?” Balladares said.
She added that it is the responsibility of Philippine officials in Hong Kong to inform the OFWs about the new process and should not capitalize on the problem of their own doing to further collect from the OFWs.
Balladares asked POLO officials to waive the employment contract processing fee for those whose contracts will be rejected by the Immigration department, and refund the payment of those who were made to pay again.
“We urge you to provide genuine service to our sector and to stop taking advantage of the Immigration department’s new policy to make money from the concerned OFWs,” she said.