Licenses of overseas recruitment agencies extended as pandemic lingers— POEA chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 12 2020 12:54 PM

MANILA - Licenses of recruitment agencies for overseas Filipino workers have been extended as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continues, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Administrator Bernard Olalia said Saturday. 

In a public press briefing, Olalia said this is to help recruitment agencies that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as travel and deployment remain limited to contain the virus. 

"Bilang tulong, may automatic extension ng licenses, ibig sabihin 'wag muna namin i-impose ang regulation para makatulong tayo," he said. 

(As assistance, we have automatically extended their licenses. This means we will not impose regulations so we could help them.) 

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Olalia said some 50 agencies intend to close their main offices, while 70 branch offices have closed. This as the global pandemic halted travel and dampened businesses around the world, leading to layoffs of migrant workers. 

"Isa po sa hardest hit na sektor gawa po ng pandemya ay ang overseas employment. 'Yung mga nare-receive natin na datos ng mga Philippine recruitment manning agencies natin ay apektado," Olalia said. 

(One of the hardest hit sectors because of the pandemic is overseas employment. The data we receive from Philippine recruitment manning agencies are also affected.) 

Travelling has been largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as flights and overseas recruitment remain limited as the government sought to contain the disease through quarantine protocols. 

Starting January, the government will impose a cap of 5,000 on the number of health workers allowed to be deployed per year, covering 12 work classifications under mission-critical skills, including nurses. 

Once they see the situation easing, they may allow the deployment of another 5,000 workers and may also consider allowing the deployment of other health care workers such as doctors, pharmacists and dentists.