Thousands to benefit from new regulations

RONALD BALCE BRUSSELS

Undocumented Filipinos in Belgium may soon be
granted regular worker status by the government
under a new initiative that gained momentum after a
recent visit  by President Arroyo.

The government of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt is
considering the move on a case-to-case basis.
The proposal is being studied by the Belgian Senate
and House of Representatives.

Belgian Foreign ministry officials had assured Arroyo
that steps were being taken to process
undocumented Filipino workers in the country after
noting their “innate industry, reliability and honesty”.

Belgium is home to more than 5,000 OFWs, but only
about 3,000 are officially registered with the Belgian
National Institute of Statistics.

The remainder are undocumented and working
without proper working permits. Most of the OFWs in
the country are in the service industry.

Belgium, a relatively new OFW destination, is easily
accessible because of the porous border in the
European Union. Majority of OFWs in Europe are in  
Britain and Italy, with a rising number in Ireland.

President Arroyo said Prime Minister Verhofstadt had
expressed sympathy for the undocumented Filipino
workers and had assured her that his government is
taking serious steps to help.

Meanwhile, a career alternative is emerging: become
a caregiver as an entry point to the world’s healthcare
industry.

The Philippines is working on developing Canada
and Spain as new markets for Filipino domestic
helpers to come in as healthcare professionals.  

Under the Manila’s new cooperation program with
Spain called “Proyekto Piloto”, the Spanish
government has issued 120 visas to Filipino health
care workers such as caregivers and nurses.

To qualify under the program, a Filipino helper must
have the appropriate certification and education
requirements to land jobs with large companies,
primary hospitals and homes for the aged in Spain.

The easiest way is to land caregiving jobs by first
acquiring a certification from Tesda after completing a
training course.

Sixty Filipino workers have been deployed under
Proyekto Piloto.

“This is how we value our workers, especially
women. Slowly, we are going into that direction
[caregiving],” Labor Secretary Arturo Brion said.
This is how we
value our workers,
especially women.
Slowly, we are
going into that
direction
[caregiving]
All rights reserved. Filipino Globe
Belgium is home to more than 5,000 overseas Filipino workers, but only about 3,000 are
officially registered with the government. They now have a chance to work legally.
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