'Quality jobs' in Hong Kong await Filipinos

By Estrella Torres, BusinessMirror

Posted at Mar 15 2013 08:30 AM | Updated as of Mar 15 2013 04:30 PM

MANILA -- Filipino engineers, architects and artists now have good chances of getting quality jobs in Hong Kong because of massive infrastructure projects there, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said a report from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) showed that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) would embark this year on various job-generating infrastructure and tourism projects.

“This is a fair chance for our Filipino workers, not only because they will have the opportunity to earn, but most important, the experience and the learnings they will acquire from working in Hong Kong will contribute to their knowledge and skills, which they can use upon their return to the Philippines,” Baldoz said in a statement on Wednesday.

There were 174,851 Filipinos in Hong Kong in 2011 of which 129,575 were land-based OFWs, mostly domestic helps, according to figures of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO).

The announcement of the job openings for highly skilled Filipino workers was made amid an indefinite moratorium imposed by recruiters of Filipino domestic helps bound for Hong Kong.

The moratorium was imposed last month because of exorbitant fees being charged by the HK government against foreign workers, particularly domestic workers.

Hong Kong SAR Financial Secretary John Tsang earlier met with Assistant Foreign Secretary Ma. Theresa P. Lazaro and laid down his country’s economic prospects for 2013 and in the coming years.

Tsang revealed that among the major recurrent expenditures of the Hong Kong government for 2013 is infrastructure. The allocated amount of HK$17.9 billion (P93.7 billion), expected to reach HK$70 billion (P366.5 billion), would be used to fund five new railway lines, public hospital construction and renovation, a waste-treatment facility, an indoor stadium and a velodrome.

The Hong Kong official also said his government is supporting developments in Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland to further boost its tourism industry.

The Hong Kong government would be offering a HK$2.3-billion (P12-billion) loan to Ocean Park to jump-start of the construction of its all-weather Water World. Hong Kong Disneyland will also launch a new nighttime parade and a theme area featuring the Marvel Heroes. “What’s even better is that the Construction Industry Council of Hong Kong is offering 2,000 training slots for those who wish to take construction-related vocational studies,” Baldoz said.

But the labor chief cautioned job seekers to deal properly with Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and avoid being victimized by illegal recruiters.

"At the same time, I wish to remind everyone interested to work in Hong Kong or in any other part of the world to be extra careful, especially in dealing with recruiters. They can check the web site of the POEA to validate the legitimacy of a job order. They can also check, through the web site, the status of the employment agency that they are dealing with,” Baldoz reminded job seekers.