Immigration eases rules on returning OFWs to Nigeria

December 18, 2008

12/18/2008 | 09:09 PM

MANILA, Philippines-  Janette Alican risked a good job in Nigeria to be with her family this Christmas.

The total deployment ban imposed by the Philippine government bars
Filipinos from going to the oil-rich African nation due to the spate of kidnappings ? both in Nigeria’s soil and seas ? in 2006.

Earlier this month, Alican, who holds a resident visa in Nigeria, flew from the capital city of Abuja to Manila. Now, she fears she can’t go back to the German company in Abuja that employed her.

“I feel like I’m being imprisoned in my own country,” she tearfully said during a forum Thursday on the UN Migrant Workers’ Convention, a joint undertaking of the state Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the civil society group Center for Migration Advocacy (CMA).

“The President left for Qatar to get jobs there. I have a job in Nigeria,why can’t I get back there?” she said.

Lawyer Edgardo Mendoza, chief Immigration Regulation Commission, assured returning migrant workers like Alican that they could re-enter Nigeria as long as they present the necessary documents.

In an interview with GMANews.TV on Thursday, Mendoza said migrants who have secured a Balik-Manggagawa (Return to Work) permit from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) and a resident visa could return to the African country.

Mendoza added that the POEA would issue a guideline soon on the issuance of special permits to returning workers in Nigeria.

Mendoza refused to comment whether the special permit would extend to three other countries with existing total deployment bans, namely: Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

There is also no word on the state of the workers who want to return to Jordan where a temporary suspension of deployment on domestic workers is implemented.

Karen Gomez-Dumpit, director of the CHR’s Government Linkages Office
promised to personally assist Janette by finding out if the rule is
subjective or not.

“What if you encounter an Immigration officer who is ignorant of the rule, how can you explain to him that you can leave?” Dumpit said during the forum.

If successful, Alican would leave for Nigeria on the 27th.

Recruiters have sought the lifting of deployment bans to Lebanon, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Iraq, saying the Philippines is losing out on job opportunities for Filipino workers.

Jackson Gan, vice president of the Federated Association of Manpower
Exporters, said that there are less demand for Filipinos in countries where workers are freely deployed.

The Philippine government imposed a deployment ban on Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan due to security threats to Filipino workers.

The deployment of domestic workers to Jordan was suspended due to the
upsurge of abuses against Filipino household service workers in the Middle Eastern country. – GMANews.TV


Pinoys in top 10 foreign populations of 16 countries

June 28, 2008

By Madelaine Joy A. Garcia
First Posted 12:27:00 06/27/2008

A recently-released report by the World Bank has identified Filipinos among the top 10 foreign populations in 16 big and small countries in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.

The WB’s Migration and Remittances Factbook 2008 says that Filipinos lead the number of foreigners in Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Cyprus, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Oman, Palau, Saudi Arabia, the Solomon Islands, and the US.

Five of these countries are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The World Bank revealed data on the estimated number of migrants – or what it calls “immigrants” – based on the 2005 United Nations Population Division report.

The tiny island of Palau some 800 kilometers east of the Philippines, a diving haven and home to some 20,000 people, hosts the most number of Filipinos among the foreigners.

Data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) show that there are 4,495 Filipinos in Palau. Twenty-one of them are considered permanent residents; some 4,434 are temporary migrant workers. CFO estimates that the rest are undocumented.

Meanwhile, Filipinos are now the second biggest foreigner group in Malaysia, Brunei and the U.S., according to both the World Bank report and CFO estimates.

The US, the top source country of remittances to the Philippines, has some 38.4 million foreigners, says the WB. Filipinos are behind the US neighbor, Mexico, in terms of numbers there, and CFO estimates that there are now 3.4 million Filipinos in the US.

Of Malaysia’s 1.6 million foreigners, 100,233 are Filipinos, the WB report showed. CFO’s June 2007 data confirms this.

Brunei for its part has some 124,193 foreigners, with 22,939 of them Filipino, estimates CFO.

In Korea, 50,165 Filipinos in a total 551,193 foreigners make them the third largest number of foreigners. The Marshall Islands in the western Pacific Ocean have a thousand Filipinos, also making them the third biggest group in an estimated total of 1,667 foreigners.

The Solomon Islands have some 3,279 foreigners among some 489,000 people. CFO estimates 758 Filipinos there.

Filipinos are the fourth-biggest group in Italy, which has roughly 2.5 million foreigners. Some 119,083 Filipinos are estimated to be in Italy, says CFO.

An estimated 1,016,820 Filipinos in the work force make them the fifth biggest immigrant group in Saudi Arabia according to the CFO. This Muslim nation of some 24 million has some 6.36 million immigrants.

Filipinos are the fifth-largest immigrant group – an estimated 313,291 among 2.05 million foreigners in Japan – according to the World Bank report.

In Cyprus, estimated to have some 116,137 immigrants, Filipinos are ranked sixth. CFO data show 12,406 Filipinos there.

Filipinos – 33,000 of them – are the sixth-biggest group in Oman, which has some 627,571, by CFO estimates.

In Canada, with a total of 6,105,722 foreigners, Filipinos are the seventh-biggest group (789,943). Seventh largest (1,400) is also their ranking among Iceland’s 23,097 foreigners, according to CFO.

The eighth-biggest group of foreigners among Australia’s 4.1 million and Cambodia’s 303,871-immigrant population are Filipino, estimated to number 232,447 in the former, and 1,572 in the latter country.

–OFW Journalism Consortium

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