Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III (File photo)

MANILA – More employment opportunities will soon be available to Filipino workers as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) formally signed a labor cooperation agreement with the government of Yukon, Canada.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Minister Ranj Pillai inked the memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the employment and protection of Filipino workers in a virtual ceremony on March 18.

“The Memorandum of Understanding that we are signing not only strengthens our bilateral labor relations but will also enhance our cooperation in the protection, recruitment and deployment of Filipino workers in Yukon,” Bello said in a statement on Sunday.

The agreement aims to facilitate the deployment of Filipino workers under the Yukon Nominee Program, which is driven by employers looking to fill critical vacancies unoccupied by Canadians or permanent residents.

The MOU will be implemented by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and Yukon’s Department of Economic Development.

The agreement provides that employers and their agents, including immigration consultants, are prohibited from charging any fees for recruitment services and selection.

Both Bello and Pillai welcomed the MOU, which was negotiated starting in 2019.

“It has been almost three years since we’ve met and signed the Philippines-Yukon Joint Communiqué in Whitehorse, Yukon. The Joint Communiqué paved the way for the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippines and Yukon on the Employment and Protection of Filipinos under the Yukon Nominee Program,” Bello said.

The screening of qualified Filipino applicants will begin as soon as the implementing guidelines are approved by the Joint Working Committee to be represented by Consul General Maria Andrelita Austria, Deputy Consul General Arlene Magno, and Vancouver Labor Attaché Jainal Rasul Jr.

Bello, who was accompanied by DOLE Assistant Secretary Alice Visperas and Rasul, signed the MOU at the Philippine Consulate in New York; while Minister Pillai, who was accompanied by some Filipino community leaders in Whitehorse, Yukon, signed the MOU at the Philippine Consulate in Vancouver.

There are approximately 5,000 Filipinos in Yukon and most of them have already become permanent residents or Canadian citizens. (PR)