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Phl Ambassador warns Filipino domestic helpers in China working illegally

09 January 2020

By The SUN
Ambassador Sta Romana airs warning over state-owned China Radio Internationa

Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana has reiterated that Filipinos are still not allowed to work as domestic helpers in China.

“Madaling pumunta dito, madaling kumuha ng trabaho. Ang mahirap ang kumuha ng work permit kasi wala pang agreement at hindi pa policy ng Chinese government to accept (foreign domestic helpers),” Ambassador Sta Romana said in an interview on Radyo Internasyonal ng Tsina (or Chinese Radio International) that aired today, Jan. 9.

He said no bilateral agreement has yet been signed between the two governments that would allow Filipinos to work legally in China as domestic helpers.
This is despite recurring reports in the past that Filipino domestics would soon be allowed to work in key Chinese cities like Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen.

But despite the absence of such a deal, the Philippine government itself has estimated that there are around 200,000 undocumented Filipinos working as domestic helpers in China.

Ambassador Sta Romana said domestic concern could be the reason why China is hesitant to open its doors to foreign domestic workers.
Without a proper work permit, Filipinos who take up domestic jobs in the mainland could be arrested any time and deported, he said.

In the past, he said China’s Public Security Bureau had alerted them over such arrests, and the Embassy had helped facilitate the Filipinos’ return home.

Despite the prohibition on domestic work, Filipinos continue to flock to China, said Ambassador Sta Romana, with many coming in to work in the media or hotel industry, or as teachers.
He said recruitment is still ongoing for the 2,000 slots opened for Filipino school teachers as part of a memorandum of understanding signed between the Philippines and China on the sidelines of the Boao forum in Hainan in April 2018.

But it appears there have been not a lot of takers, as the deal requires applicants to be qualified to teach at university level, and must have graduated from designated schools in the Philippines.

“Medyo nagkaroon lang ng challenge sa implementation,” Sta Romana said.

But he said the salary offer is high enough to attract many applicants.

Asked about the possible impact of the protests on the work security of Filipinos in Hong Kong, the ambassador said “Our concern is the welfare of our compatriots. What we want is the safety and security of our compatriots.”

He called on Filipinos in the city to keep themselves safe by not taking part in what he called as Hong Kong’s “domestic” concern.

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