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POEA lists 24 countries off-limits to OFWs


By Samuel Medenilla

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) listed 24 areas abroad which remain off-limits to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for 2018.



In its Advisory 21, series of 2017, POEA said the areas were placed under a pending deployment ban due to their unsuitable security and economic conditions for OFWs.

“Except when specified, the coverage of this Advisory shall apply to land-based deployment and will remain valid unless updated by subsequent issuance(s),” POEA said.

Countries placed under a total deployment ban due to their unstable peace and order situation were Afghanistan; Somalia; Sudan (except Khartoum and the Kenana Sugar Plantation in the White Nile); Great Lakes Region (Rwanda and Burundi); Syria; Yemen; Iraq; and Chechnya Republic.

A total deployment ban covers all skills categories and applies to both new hires and rehires.

Meanwhile, South Sudan; Iraqui Kurdistan Region; Libya; and Ukraine still have an existing partial deployment ban.

While new hires are banned from going to countries with partial deployment ban, rehires or returning OFWs are still allowed to work there provided they comply with certain conditions from the government.

Palau was issued another conditional deployment restriction by POEA. It only covers Filipino household service workers (HSW) since they were not given suitable working conditions by their employer.

Lastly, POEA Advisory 21 also covers 11 countries, which were not certified by the Department Foreign Affairs (DFA) as compliant to Republic Act 10022 or the Amended Migrant Workers Act.

Listed were Afghanistan; Chad; Cuba; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea/North Korea; Haiti; Mali; Mauritania; Niger, Palestine; Somalia; and Zimbabwe.

Under RA 10022, POEA cannot deploy OFWs in countries without any DFA certification.

To be given DFA certification, countries must comply with the any of these conditions: has existing labor and social laws protecting the rights of migrant workers; signatory to existing multilateral conventions, declarations, resolutions relating to the protection of migrant workers; concluded bilateral agreement or arrangement with the government protecting the rights of OFWs; and taking positive, concrete measures to protect the rights of migrant workers.

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