Fresh from her successful official mission to New Zealand, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday directed Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac to convene the technical panels of the Philippines and New Zealand to work out the detailed mechanism implementing the newly-signed “Arrangement on the Principles and Controls on the Recruitment and Protection of Filipino Workers in New Zealand”.
“We have already sent out the invitation for the New Zealand technical panel to come and visit the Philippines and to sit down with us in working out the detailed mechanism of the new agreement,” said Baldoz.
Specifically, she said the technical panels of both the Philippines and New Zealand will focus on the smooth and effective implementation of the zero placement fee policy in favor of OFWs and in weeding out any circumvention of the policy, such as charging high training, medical, and other fees, which are all but guises for placement and recruitment fees,” Baldoz explained.
She said that the Philippines and New Zealand has agreed that placement and recruitment costs shall be charged to employers and their recruiters.
She also said part of the work of the two countries’ technical panels will be to come out with an agreement on the schedule of fees to be paid by employers to their recruitment agents in the Philippines and New Zealand.
Administrator Cacdac, whom Secretary Baldoz had tasked to head the Philippine technical panel which will meet with the New Zealand technical panel, has also been instructed to ensure that any fees to be legally-paid by workers bound for New Zealand must be issued only with BIR-registered and –approved official receipts to preclude any illegal charges.
Also to be discussed and worked out by the two technical panels are the standard employment contract; accreditation of principals or employers; job order approval; verification of employment documents; dispute settlement; and online labor market information.
“With the fruitful result of our official mission which ushered in a higher level of labor cooperation and relations between the Philippines and New Zealand, I believe we have to move very fast in working out the details of the new agreement, especially on the identified concerns that Minister Woodhouse and I have discussed. I look forward to hosting the New Zealand technical panel in the Philippines,” Baldoz said.