Sunday, July 19, 2009

Brain Drain in the Philippines

Starting at around the 1970s, Filipinos have already been immigrating to other nations like the USA, Middle East, Canada, Australia and many other countries to find work in order to send money back home.

A report from Geneva's International Labour Office showed that the number of professional workers who went abroad exceeded the net addition to the professionals in the workforce during the 1990s.

Highly skilled physicians, teachers, seamen, engineers, nurses, and many others who received such a high level of university training only to apply their knowledge and expertise in other countries.

Indeed the massive amount of income they're bringing in to the country through their remittances has been keeping the country's economy afloat for many years and counting.

What is this doing to the local workforce, however?

There is no direct information on the actual magnitude of brain drain from the Philippines and how much this has changed over time. Occasional surveys may reveal the extent of location of Philippine professionals but there is no regular monitoring of movements. For example, one survey in the seventies indicated that the number of physicians in the United States amounted to half of the registered physicians in the Philippines.
Source: Skilled Labour Migration from Developing Countries: Study on the Philippines

Even without the numbers, just go to the POEA/OWWA offices anywhere in the country and you will see that everyday, hundreds of Filipinos would be there processing their applications or renewing their contracts all hoping to go out of the country and work.

It's not hard to see why, simply ask around and visit the homes of some families whose a family member is an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) and you'll often find that they're living way better than most Filipinos.

So for most OFWs, the reason really is just one word: economic. Although the remittances from these workers are good for the Philippine economy, it is not sustainable. The Philippines, I think, is still challenged to be able to produce something from within and be able to export goods and services for a more sustainable income. In addition, when the businesses within the country become globally competitive with good salary grids, people won't have to go somewhere else to find that elusive "Greener Pasture".

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Find jobs in New Zealand via POEA

You can find "approved jobs" in many countries on the POEA website. Simply go to this link:

Here's a short sample list for jobs in New Zealand:

Approved Job Orders by Country as of Jul 14, 2009 5:55:19 PM


Country Position Agency
Date Approved
JO Balance

If you can't find what you're looking for, try and check back again at a later time. Keep checking this every now and then as the list is updated in a few days I think.

Happy job hunting.

How to Spot Illegal Recruiters

Who is the Illegal Recruiter?

  1. Instantly asks for placement and other fees but does not give official receipts.
  2. Promises fast and early deployment.
  3. Immediately requires medical examinations even without a definite contract or employer.
  4. Conducts transactions with applicants in public places, such as restaurants, malls, etc. and not in licensed agency’s office.
  5. Conducts house-to-house recruitment.
  6. Does not give enough information regarding the job applied.
  7. Claims to have contact with direct employers abroad, and asserts that applicants do not need to go through POEA requirements.
  8. Promises quick deployment, but only through tourist or visit visas.
  9. Could not produce employment contract or visa.
  10. Claims to work for a legitimate agency, but could not show any ID.
  11. Claims to be connected with a travel agency or a training center.
  12. Persuades applicants to look for other applicants so that deployment would be quickened.
  13. Does not give enough or hides personal information, such as full name, address, etc.
  14. Promises to process documents through the POEA’s government to government hiring program (especially for applicants to Korea).
  15. Claims to have deployed one or more workers abroad using tourist or visit visas, and tries to entice you by using the same scheme.

Ten Commandments to Avoid Illegal Recruitment

  1. You should not apply in an agency not licensed by the POEA.
  2. You should not accept jobs without job orders. Ask the POEA.
  3. You should not deal with somebody who is not an authorized employee of a licensed agency.
  4. You should not transact business outside the registered address of the agency. If recruiting outside Metro Manila, ask for Special Recruitment Authority.
  5. You should not pay for a placement fee that is more than the equivalent of a month’s salary.
  6. You should not pay for a placement fee if you are not given a receipt and an employment contract.
  7. You should not readily believe advertisements or pamphlets advising you to contact certain P.O. Box addresses and urging you to pay a fee for the processing of your papers.
  8. You should not transact business with agents of training centers and travel agencies offering jobs abroad.
  9. You should not accept a tourist visa for your overseas employment.
  10. You should not deal with fixers.

Source: A Simple Life

Filipinos overseas sent record $1.48B home in May

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Money sent home by Filipino workers overseas grew 3.7 percent in May to a record high of $1.48 billion, defying the World Bank's forecast of a drop in remittances this year because of the global economic crunch.

The May data brought total remittances for the first five months of the year to $6.98 billion, up 2.8 percent from $5.5 billion for the same period last year, the central bank said Wednesday.

The second highest level of remittances, at $1.47 billion, was registered in March.

Nearly 10 percent of the country's 90 million people work abroad — many as nurses, maids, engineers, construction workers and seamen. Last year, overseas Filipinos sent home $16.4 billion, equal to about 10.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product, fueling domestic consumption that is a lynchpin of the economy.

"The stream of remittances from overseas Filipinos continued to show signs of strength despite lingering global economic fragilities, providing some basis for cautious optimism regarding steady remittance levels for 2009," central bank Gov. Amando Tetangco said.

He said remittances continued to be underpinned by the steady demand for Filipino workers, particularly professional and skilled labor, as well as their expanded access to banks' financial products and services.

The World Bank has projected a 4 percent drop in remittances this year to the Philippines, which is the world's fourth biggest recipient of money sent by workers from abroad.

But a central bank statement said demand for Filipino workers is expected to hold up as a result of hiring deals forged by the Philippines with host countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia and Japan.

The bank said the rise in May's foreign remittances came with school enrolments and related expenditures as schools in the Philippines reopened in June after holidays.

It said talks have started for Libya to recruit some 4,000 Filipino medical workers, while South Korea has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Philippines on the hiring of up to 5,000 workers by South Korea's manufacturing and other sectors within the next 10 months.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

On to Permanent Residency (Updated)

It's been a little over two years now since we first set foot in New Zealand. Time for immigration paper works again this time looking at applying for Permanent Residency. Again, depending on which category you come to NZ determines the right time to apply for PR. As for us, we're on the Work-To-Residence Permit under Talent (Accredited Employer) stream. So basically I simply have to stay employed with the employer or other employers as long as I'm granted "Variations of conditions" for up to 2 years then I'll be eligible for PR.

You may think that 2 years is quite a long wait to become PR, well, compared to a regular "Work Permit", we don't have to go through "Expression of interest", "Points assessment" and eventually "Invitation to apply" type-of-thing. I simply have to submit the necessary papers that show I have stayed employed for a valid employer under valid conditions (minimum salary required, permanent, on-going, genuine, at least 30 hours per week, etc.). After submitting all the necessary requirements, it takes up to 3 months for processing then we'll have to pay a Levy and that should complete the process.

Here's the list of the requirements that we need to accomplish in order to lodge our application:
  1. Letter from employer showing that the base salary meets the minimum requirement. (Dated not less than 1 month).
  2. Letter from employer showing that the contract is on-going, genuine, at least 30 hours per week, etc. (Dated not less than 1 month).
  3. Complete medical examination and chest x-ray results of not less than 3 months at time of application.
  4. Police certificates from all countries we have lived for more than 12 months in the last 10 years. Since I come from the Philippines, they require both the local Police Clearance and the NBI Clearance. (Dated not less than 6 months.)
  5. 700 NZD for the application fee.
  6. English proficiency requirements for my partner: (a)Letter from the University of San Carlos; (b) Letter from current employer.
We had our medical and x-ray exams on the first week of December 2008. It cost us a fortune as it is quite expensive. It took about a week for the results to be available and thank God, everything is normal. Actually it was a 3 step process; it goes something like this:
  1. Setup an appointment with the Medical Center. Here we brought our partially filled-up medical forms to the nurse; the other details are filled-up during the appointment.
  2. Go to a laboratory to get blood tests and x-ray done. The results usually takes up to a week to be available.
  3. Once the results are available, they are sent directly to the Medical Center and we are notified about it and then we setup another appointment, this time with a doctor. In this appointment, the doctor does some final physical checks and goes through the results with us. He then signs it and puts it in a sealed enveloped for us to take home.
When we had our medical exams in the Philippines before, at Velez Hospital, they did not give us the chance to see our results. They gave it to us in a sealed envelope already. The doctor here told us that why would the results be hidden from us, after all, it's too personal for us.

The requirements from my employer, the letters, were no big deal. However, it is wise to get them later as they need to be dated not less than 1 month during which the application is lodged.

We also got a letter from the University of San Carlos for my partner confirming her degree and that the medium of instruction used is English.

The trickier part of this whole process is the NBI and Police Clearance from the Philippines. Well, as always, or should I say, "as useless", it takes ages to get these documents even the requirements for these documents themselves are quite a mission to get hold of. You will need cedula, birth certificate, 2x2 photos and the payment, of course -- you know, the usual inefficiencies in our government processes.

The trick here is to get these documents way way way ahead of schedule. In our case, the NBI clearance actually has cost us dearly. It cost me money and time and effort too.

Since I don't have any recent NBI clearance on hand, (I did have one 6 years ago which I couldn't find anymore, that's when I got my passport), I have to fill-up a new NBI finger-print form. In short, my sister-in-law has to mail the form to me then I'll fill it up in the local police station here and then mail it back. Then to top things up, I had "a hit". That means I have to wait for another 1 week for their computer to decide that I'm cleared. Yes, they literally wait on the computer; the Philippines is high-tech you see. :-?

Anyway, finally my name was cleared, so I should then have my clearance shoudn't I?? But wait, there's more! They ran out of ink! Can you believe that?? Well, maybe that's understandable as maybe someone was printing some wedding invitation letters during that time. Oh well...

Finally we got our NBI clearances and our application is now with Immigration. Fingers-crossed, hopefully everything will go well.

Some tips to prevent inadvertent delays:
  • Make sure you have all the necessary requirements. Call up the immigration office when in doubt. Don't just listen to what other people are saying. Do your homework.
  • Pay attention to the dates and times. The medical/x-ray certificates need to be less than 3 months old upon submission. The police/NBI clearances need to be less than 6 months old. The letter from the employer needs to be 1 month old.
  • Request for the Philippine documents ahead of time. As you can see, police/NBI clearances first. Also if you need to request docs from the University, get them early as well.
  • Go through and fill-up the application form carefully. Read all of the inlined instructions and make use of the checklist provided. When in doubt, consult the guide or better yet call the immigration office.
  • Don't forget to sign the application form. Remember that everyone that's included in the application that's more than 17 years old must sign the application.
  • Create a cover letter for the application enumerating what documents you are submitting. This is also an opportunity for you to highlight something or point the immigration officer to something that you think needs their attention.
  • When submitting the application in the NZIS branch, there's no need for you to line up in the queue. Go straight inside and find the correct envelope for new applications. Put all the documents inside, fill-up the info side and seal it up then drop it in the designated drop box. If you don't know where these are or can't figure it out, just ask.
Update: Our residency is now approved. It took 3 months for the processing. We now sent back our passports so that they can attach the annotations and paid the migrant levy. Whooohoo!