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Malaysia labor tack may cut OFW deployment-recruiters

THE implementation of new hiring scheme is expected to negatively impact the number of overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) to Malaysia, said a group of recruiters. Malaysia ImmigrationAccording to consultant Manny Geslani, the group of recruitment agencies fears a information technology-based medical system to be implemented by the Malaysian government will add financial burden and lengthen documentation processing for OFWs. “Eventually, this will contribute to a drop in deployment.” There is an estimated 900,000 Filipinos in Malaysia and, every year, the Philippines sends there an average of 10,000 workers. In particular, deployment of Filipino household service workers (HSWs) to Malaysia rose dramatically in 2011 to 16,797, based on current government statistics. The number increased by 80 percent from the 8,902 Filipino household service workers recorded for 2010. But industry sources say the number of HSWs in 2012 has almost doubled, estimated to 25,000 HSWs. Geslani said the demand came from the Malaysian private sector who prefer to hire Filipino women domestic workers, preferably from Mindanao and who can also speak Bahasa. Geslani said directors of the Philippine Association of Manpower Agencies for Malaysian Affiliates (Pamana), an association of 85 licensed agencies actively deploying contract workers to Malaysia, expressed to him fears the number can dwindle if the country’s Asian neighbor fully implements a new medical IT system. Pamana said in a briefing material the medical IT scheme would require applicants to electronically upload their medical records. However, this may result in further delay in the issuance of “Calling Visas,” the group’s statement read. The Calling Visa is part of an application for employment of foreigners. An application is made in Malaysia by the employer and, once approved, the employee can be issued a Calling Visa which needs to be taken to the Malaysian embassy or high commission in the employee’s own country to get further approval. Currently, it takes a month or two before the Malaysian Immigration office releases a Calling Visa, according to Geslani. In addition, the new scheme, to be made effective on June 15, 2013, involves the payment of $15 (P615, at $1=P41) by each applicant for every medical result uploaded. This would then be electronically sent to the Malaysian Embassy in Manila and to the Malaysian Immigration system as part of the Calling Visa process. “Such a scheme is a huge burden also on each accredited medical clinic [that] will have to pay $8,000 in order to be made part of the group allowed to conduct medical testing for Malaysia-bound applicants under the new system,” Geslani said. Pamana President Buddy S. Curameng said applicants for household service work in Malaysia would “certainly take the medical uploading cost as additional burden… since most of them are financially hard-up. Pamana members have designated Curameng to officially inform Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Dato Mohd. Zamri Mohd. Kassim, and convey the apprehensions of the agencies. Geslani added that the group is asking both the government’s foreign affairs and labor departments to also immediately address the issue. Source: http://businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/news/economy/13380-malaysia-labor-tack-may-cut-ofw-deployment-recruiters

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