POEA suspends deployment of OFWs to Ukraine

By Ferdinand Patinio

March 14, 2022, 9:03 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on Monday said the deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to Ukraine has been suspended due to tension between the host country and Russia.

“Because the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) has raised the alert level in Ukraine, this is Alert Level 4 and because Ukraine is Alert Level 4, the POEA governing board issued on Wednesday saying that no one will be allowed to leave and work in Ukraine,” POEA chief Bernard Olalia at the Laging Handa briefing.

Olalia said only a few OFWs are working in the European nation.

“In 2014, we no longer deployed OFWs to Ukraine, because of Alert Level 2. The only OFWs who are allowed there are what we call returning workers,” Olalia said.

“In 2021, there were no returning workers but last 2020 there were four; in 2019 there were 12. They are our domestic workers and also skilled and professional workers,” he added.

He said the deployment ban will remain “as long as there is conflict.”

“So, if the uncertainly will continue, our alert level will also remain and so as deployment ban,” he added.

Olalia said almost all of the land-based workers have been evacuated while those remaining are the ones married to Ukrainians.

“Our challenge right now is the seafarers numbering to over 200 who are still onboard but we are currently arranging their repatriation using humanitarian corridor, as what we call it,” he said.

He said the government is also ready to assist the returning OFWs to get another job abroad, through agency hires or direct hires.

“For agency hires, they will just come here to POEA and we will look for job orders, we will match their skills, their experience with the available job orders and we will coordinate with the licensed recruitment agencies here,” Olalia said.

“For direct hires, if they have relatives or they know employers abroad who are willing to give them a job, we will help them process their direct hire application,” he added. (PNA)