Seek amnesty, gov't tells irregular OFWs in Jordan
MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz on Friday, March 20, urged unregistered overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Jordan to avail of an ongoing amnesty program.
For 60 days, the Arab country will let OFWs "who have lost their work visas and residency permits, and whose status are irregular, including those who are overstaying," to apply for amnesty and "correct their status."
"I urge all OFWs whose stay in Jordan are irregular to heed the Jordan government’s offer of amnesty and legalize their stay. This is for your own good," Baldoz said.
She explained that irregular OFWs in Jordan can fix their documents by visiting the Labor Directorates of the Ministry of Labor in their areas.
Labor Attaché Florenda Herrera of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Amman reported to Baldoz that the amnesty covers the following:
- first-time migrant workers
- workers who entered Jordan with expired recruitment contracts
- workers who did not complete the process of obtaining valid work permits
- workers who will transfer from one industry sector to another
- workers who have been sentenced with deportation but have yet to be deported
With some nationalities excluded, the amnesty covers migrant workers still in Jordan who have been terminated and have received the reimbursement of Social Security contribution as a result of their discharge.
There were around 12,996 irregular OFWs in Jordan in the first quarter of 2014, a report to Congress showed. Only 12,996 Filipinos have the proper documents to work there.
Amnesty program explained
Herrera explained that there are "no retroactive fees for foreign workers who rectify their status in the first month of the amnesty and pay their work permits amounting to a new rate."
However, applicants who will avail of the amnesty in the second month of the program will pay the previous year’s permit fees and the new permit fees.
Herrera said the Jordanian government requires a valid work permit for migrant workers to avail of both public and private services.
These include "personal status services, bank services, education, Social Security coverage, housing, water, electricity, communications, and other services."
Migrant workers who will transfer from one industry sector to another, like a household service worker wanting to apply for a semi-skilled occupation, are also covered.
"As to the transferees, the exception are workers who transfer to the agriculture sector and those who transfer from the so-called Qualifying Industrial Zone to any other industry sector," Herrera said.
As part of the program, Jordan will stop recruiting migrant workers of any nationality, except for workers for Qualifying Industrial Zones and domestic workers.
Licensed professions will still be processed, but taking into account a set ratio of Jordanian workers and foreign workers.
OFWs in Jordan
Around 17,429 OFWs in Jordan are domestic workers.
Of these OFWs, 3,505 are professionals such as nurses, engineers, and IT consultants, while another 3,891 are semi-skilled workers including hotel workers and wellness and hospitality workers.
Highly-skilled migrant Filipino workers in the Kingdom are mostly machine operators, heavy equipment mechanics, and welders.
The Philippines is a known labor-sending country, with over 10 million Filipinos either temporarily working or permanently residing abroad.
Comprising more than a 10th of the country's gross national income, OFW remittances have boosted the Philippine economy.
President Benigno Aquino III, however, said he envisions "a government that creates jobs at home so that working abroad will be a choice rather than a necessity." – Rappler.com