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Immigration still accepts green employment contracts signed before Jan 1

19 January 2017

The new blue contract should be used
if signed after Jan 1, 2017
By Vir B. Lumicao

Green standard employment contracts will still be accepted by the Immigration Department if they were signed by both the employer and the domestic worker before Jan. 1 and are received by Department before Jan 27.
This was made clear by the department in response to an inquiry by The SUN amid confusion over the effective date of the blue revised standard contract that includes safety guidelines on helpers’ window-cleaning duties.
Domestic workers who are confused over the implementing date of the new form have lambasted the Consulate and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office for allegedly telling them the green contract forms are still accepted by Immigration.
To the helpers’ dismay, immigration officers have rejected several green work contracts submitted for processing, telling the workers to use the blue forms instead.
“Hindi na nga ina-accept ung green na form sa immigration. Bakit ba ang kulit ng Consulate,” a visitor to the POLO Hong Kong website commented. 
The Immigration spokeswoman said the Labour Department guidelines on implementing the revised employment contract clearly stated that the blue form is required only for all contracts signed from Jan 1, 2017, onwards.
“So if the contract was signed before Jan 1, 2017, it will still be accepted by the Immigration as long as it is received on or before the Jan 27 deadline,” the spokeswoman said.
The window-cleaning restriction 
The helpers were incensed further when allegedly told by Consulate and POLO staff at the counters following the rejection that they would have to reprocess their contracts using the blue form – but would have to pay the fee of nearly $500 again.
Another worker who aired her complaint on Facebook turned out she misunderstood the instructions. She said her green contract, signed by her employer on Dec 30, 2016, was cleared by a staff on Jan 11.
Her document was still valid, but she listened to another Filipina helper who said that contract would be rejected as had happened to many others who had been told to use the blue forms. 
When told about the contract rejections, Labor Attache Jalilo dela Torre said POLO’s cut-off date for using the green contracts was Jan 18, so that there was a seven-working-day time to submit them to Immigration before Jan 27.
He said it should be easy to fix the problem as the affected workers could just go to POLO and have the signing dates changed to pre-Jan 1, 2017. But he was not specific on whether the workers would have to pay a fee again.
The Labour Department revised the standard employment contract in November last year to include a clause that prohibits helpers from climbing out of a window to clean its exterior. The department enforced the new policy starting on Jan 1, 2017.
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