The Philippine Embassy in Moscow on Friday noted progress in cases filed against illegal recruiters in Russia where overseas Filipino workers (OFW) had been “hired” despite the country’s “no work visa” policy for foreigners.
Citing statistics, the embassy said at least 5,000 Filipinos in Russia are left without legal status, since it has no work visa category for foreigners engaged in domestic work, except for citizens of former Soviet countries.
It said majority of OFWs recruited to work in Russia came from Hong Kong and other third world countries, enabling them to bypass Philippine regulations.
“The continuing entry of Filipino HSWs [household service workers], many of whom have commercial [business]visas that do not allow them to work in any way, makes the situation more difficult,” it said.
In a website post in the Department of Foreign Affairs, the embassy noted that none of the so-called “agencies” are accredited by the Philippine or Russian governments to perform such functions, nor do they provide guarantees regarding the safety and welfare of OFWs.
As a result, Filipinos in the country are highly vulnerable to arrest, detention and deportation.
“Pinagtibay po ng embassy ang pakikipag-ugnayan sa ating Consulado at POLO [Philippine Overseas Labor Office] sa Hong Kong (The embassy has stepped up its coordination with the Consulate and POLO in Hong Kong),” said Vice Consul Jeffrey Valdez.
“Ang anumang impormasyon na makatutulong sa pagpigil sa illegal recruitment ay ikagagalak po naming tanggapin. (We welcome any information that would lead to the prevention of illegal recruitment],” he said.
“May mga kaso na rin po na umusad at may mga lumabas na po na warrant of arrest dahil sa patuloy na pakikipagtulungan ng ating Filipino community [A number of cases are progressing and warrants of arrest have been issued due to the continued cooperation of the Filipino community],” Valdez added.
In a recently concluded “Kapihan sa Pasuguan” in Moscow, the embassy and the Filipino community in Russia discussed current developments in the bilateral relations between Manila and Moscow, and the situation of OFWs, including the need to stop the illegal recruitment of Filipino HSWs to Russia.
“Kailangan po nating pigilan ang patuloy na illegal recruitment ng mga Pilipino papuntang Russia para po mabigyan ng daan ang usapan para maging legal ang mga OFW dito [The illegal recruitment of Filipinos to Russia has to stop to make way for talks to legalize the stay of OFWs here],” Ambassador Carlos Sorreta said.
The event was streamed live over Facebook and received more than 4,500 views from all over the world, including different parts of Russia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and countries.