MANILA, Philippines – The use of mega-recruiters or large-scale recruitment entities in Gulf states is “a system worth trying for domestic workers” to counter the ill effects of a visa sponsorship set-up that has oppresed many migrant workers, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) chief Hans Leo Cacdac said.
Under the Kafala visa sponsorship, the employer’s consent is needed before a migrant worker can change jobs or be granted an exit permit to go back to his or her home country.
With the visa status of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) dependent on his of her employer, the threat of deportation looms.
“One must fully understand the Kafala system before one goes, say, as a domestic worker, even just an ordinary worker in the Middle East,” Cacdac said.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) had reported that this system of having employer-sponsors as a prerequisite for OFWs to stay in a Gulf state and acquire a work permit enables employers to exploit migrant workers and gain “inordinate control” over them.
Migrant workers are forced to give in to demands of unpaid or involuntary labor, among others, just to obtain the necessary permit from their employer. (READ: Qatar to junk oppressive visa system for OFWs)
Cacdac explained that mega-recruiters can especially help in these instances. He said the mega-recruiter can act as the employer of domestic workers, instead of the household employing them.