“The host government strategies reveal the strength of leadership and stability of social service system. The more comprehensive the government social services, the better it can protect the welfare of its laborers, including foreign workers.”
… The situation of foreign workers in different countries and regions vary. This is understandable because the pandemic, now on a global scale, has affected all aspects of life in a negative way.
Japan is one country that can be emulated for its social services… Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, foreign workers still benefit from this [Migrant Workers Policy] policy. In Taiwan, factories are still operational and have not laid off workers who can still receive their bonuses because this is secured through the work contract… Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore are ready to resume employment of migrant workers.
Aside from granting amnesty and special flights for migrant workers to return home, countries in the Middle East looked into policy compliance and implementation of agreements with countries that supply them with manpower. Most Filipinos in Italy are immigrants who are skilled workers with part-time work but lost their job but could not come back to the Philippines. At the other end of the globe, the OFWs in Australia who lost their jobs are advised to come home.
One thing that resulted from the situation was the surfacing of undocumented Filipino workers in different countries. The Amnesty program was for everyone, including those who were recruited illegally and held irregular jobs, the vulnerable ones who were displaced, distressed, the abused and maltreated due to lack of legal status. When the Philippine Embassies or Consulate offered the AKAP financial assistance, thousands showed up to apply for assistance, including undocumented workers.
The labor situation overseas is not stable and options are few. There are a lot of sacrifices, fear, uncertainty and confusion among migrant workers. And yet, the many millions who have decided or are compelled to stay in their country of work continue to communicate and send remittance to their family and relatives in the Philippines who are also affected by the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic.
CRC consultant for Migration and Overseas Filipino Work Dr. Veronica Esposo Ramirez shares in her article, “OFWs in their country of work amidst COVID-19 Pandemic,” an overview of what Overseas Filipino Workers are facing due to the sudden changes in their situation brought about by the pandemic. Varying policies and guidelines on foreign workers from countries around the globe show just how different each country values their foreign laborers. The country’s policies also indicate their strength of leadership and stability of their social service system. Despite the hardships, many OFWs still choose to stay to work and send money to their loved ones back in the Philippines.
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