FILE PHOTO: A temporary foreign worker sorts mushrooms at the Highline Mushrooms farm. REUTERS
The Philippine Embassy in Canada has refuted reports of a Canadian mushroom farm looking to hire mushroom pickers and offering CAD 3,000 as salary.
“Sa ngayon po, ayon sa POEA, hindi nag-re-recruit ang POEA ng mushroom picker o anumang trabaho sa Canada. Wala pong accredited recruitment agency at POEA-approved job contract or agency or employer dito sa Canada sa ngayon. Hindi rin po sakop ng exceptions ng batas ang direct hiring papuntang Canada,” Philippine Ambassador to Canada Petronilo Garica explained.
(POEA is not recruiting mushroom pickers or for any job positions in Canada at the moment. There is currently no accredited recruitment agency and POEA-approved job contract or agency or employer in Canada. Direct hiring to Canada is not covered by exemptions of the law. )
Reports of a job opening for mushroom pickers in Canada caused a buzz recently as the alleged employment promised more than P150,000 pesos monthly salary and an opportunity for permanent residency.
Migrant workers’ group Migrante Canada explained that the real working condition of foreign workers in the country is not as “pleasurable” as everybody seems to think.
“Underpaid, working long hours. Sa mga lumapit sa amin…ang kwento sa amin ng mga kababayan natin, minsan 12 to 16 hours tapos one day lang yung day-off nila. So talagang over worked yung mga kababayan natin,” said Bayani Edades, a solidarity officer of Migrante Canada.
(Underpaid, working long hours. Those who come to us talk of 12 to 16 hours of work with only one day off. They really are overworked.)
Edades added that the Canadian government offers permanent residency only to highly skilled workers and to those who are enrolled in temporary training programs.
Only caregivers for elderly and children are the ones eligible for permanent residency with the chance of being approved for citizenship.
Maria Sol Pajadura, chairperson of Migrante Canada, explained that time and again they have encountered migrants being lured by illegal recruiters and provided with fake documents.
“Pina-process namin sa CIC iyong work permit. Pero at the end, malalaman na ng worker na wala na silang status dito sa Canada. That’s why we cannot divulge their names dahil undocumented na sila,” Pajadura said.
(We process their work permits at CIC. But at the end, the worker would find out that they have no status in Canada. That’s why we cannot divulge their names because they are now undocumented.)
Meanwhile, in an email sent to UNTV by Ryan Koeslag, the Executive Vice President of Canadian Mushroom Growers, clarified that those who want to work in Canada, whichever sector it may be, should strictly follow the legal mechanism imposed by the Canadian government on foreign workers.
For its part, the Philippine Embassy, as always, vowed to extend all the necessary assistance to Filipino workers in Canada who in turn are victims of illegal recruiters. — Noel Poliarco | UNTV News & Rescue
Canada introduces new gun control measures
FILE PHOTO: Handguns are seen for sale in a display case at Metro Shooting Supplies in Bridgeton, Missouri, November 13, 2014. REUTERS/JIM YOUNG
Canada’s federal liberals have unveiled long-awaited gun control measures.
They included tougher background checks, including screening people with a history of violence.
Proposed measures also include making retailers keep records of gun inventories and sales and giving police access to the records when warranted.
Crime rates in Canada have been on a long decline but gun-related homicides and gun violence have increased. — Reuters
PHL Embassy in Kuwait reminds undocumented workers of amnesty program deadline on Feb 22
Illegal or undocumented workers in Kuwait have until February 22 to take advantage of the amnesty program that the Kuwaiti government is offering.
The Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has issued the advisory to all undocumented OFWs, warning them of the massive crackdown that the Kuwaiti government will enforce against illegal workers or aliens.
The Kuwaiti Interior Ministry has issued the circular on January 29 extending the amnesty program only until February 22.
Under the program, all overstaying migrant workers will be allowed exit without suffering fines or penalties.
Illegal workers, on the other hand, will be given the chance to process their documents so they can stay in the country legally.
“Pag umalis kayo under na amnesty period ay maari pa kayong bumalik ng Kuwait… walang ban sa pagbalik sa Kuwait… ngunit kung abutan kayo ng crackdown ikukulong kayo at may lifetime ban sa pagbalik sa Kuwait,” Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait, Renato Pedro T. Villa said.
( Translation: If you leave within the amnesty period, you may still return ti Kuwait…there is no ban on returning to Kuwait…but if the crackdown catches up with you, you will be jailed and banned for life from returning to Kuwait.)
Based on Kuwaiti government data, the number undocumented Filipino workers in the country has already reached a little less than 11,000.
Most of them are domestic helpers who often fall prey to illegal recruitment or have expired working visas.
However, the Philippine Embassy has only received around 300 applications for the amnesty program.
Once these applications are given clearance by the Kuwaiti government, they will be allowed to go home.
The Department of Foreign Affairs had also sent auxiliary personnel to assist the OFWs in the processing of their amnesty program applications. – Bert Cerudo | UNTV News & Rescue
DOLE allots P60-M worth of livelihood assistance for Mayon victims
MANILA, Philippines – An additional P30-million fund was given by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as a form of livelihood assistance for those affected by the activities of Mayon.
This is aside from the initial P30-million fund for the ‘Tulong Pangkabuhayan para sa mga Displaced/Disadvantage Workers Program (TUPAD).
“Thirty million not for emergency employment. That’s for livelihood. I’m encouraging those who are from here to plant root crops such as potatoes, camote, taro because there’s a big market for that,” DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
DOLE is also pushing to increase the P290 minimum wage in Bicol to respond to workers’ need in the region.
“Masyado nang mababa dapat 300 (pesos) na (It’s too low, it should be P300 already),” Bello said.
Trucks containing fresh vegetables were brought by DOLE to be given to victims of the activities of Mayon.
Meantime, P50-million worth of welfare assistance program was given by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) as a benefit to OFWs and their families in Albay.
Five hundred families were initially given cash relief worth P3,000 each.
“We are providing cash relief. We are giving families of OFWs the freedom to spend money because other government agencies are already providing relief goods,” OWWA Admin. Hans Cacdac said.
Even active or inactive OWWA members may avail of the cash benefit.
All family members or OFW returnees may also avail of the program. – Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue