News/UAE: UAE firms told not to bring in OFWs on visit visas

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Subject: News/UAE: UAE firms told not to bring in OFWs on visit visas
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Thu Aug 26 1999 - 10:27:45 EDT


UAE firms told not to bring in OFWs on visit visa
By Evelyn A. Juan
Gulf Daily News (UAE), Monday, August 23, 1999

Dubai - The Philippine Embassy has banned companies in the UAE from
sponsoring visit visas for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), to curb the
rising number of undocumented Filipinos who are later victimised by
unscrupulous employers.

The ruling came into force yesterday, and Philippine Ambassador to the UAE,
Amable Aguiluz, said those wishing to bring Filipinos to the Emirates
should now sponsor them through work visas and process their papers via the
appropriate channels, such as the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency
(POEA).

"We have started to put on hold the company-sponsored visa until there is a
clear policy on this from the POEA," Aguiluz told Gulf News.

"Only families and the UAE government can sponsor visit visas. All
companies should go through the POEA and apply for working visas for their
employees, instead of bringing in people on visit visas."

At the moment, there are around 120,000 Filipinos in the UAE. Some 60 per
cent of these, according to Aguiluz, have entered the country through
company-sponsored visit visas which were later transferred to work visas
once they settled here.

Many Filipinos who have come to the UAE on company-sponsored visit visas
have ended up being victimised. This is because the terms and conditions of
the contract they signed in the Philippines are not adhered to by their
employers in the UAE.

Some OFWs also end up working for another company instead of working for
the establishment which sponsored their entry into the Emirates. "This
clearly circumvents our policy because they did not go through the POEA.
This system is not good for us because we cannot monitor people who come to
us only when there are problems," Aguiluz said.

"This has been going on for years and from now on we are putting this on
hold until we get clear guidelines from the POEA." Some recruitment
agencies in the UAE praised this move, saying bringing in workers only on
work visas was expected to curb the problems of employees.

Melanie Orhant
morhant@igc.org
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