DOLE suspends processing of OFW certificates to stem illegal recruitment

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A worker transacts business through the POEA's One-stop Shop for OFWs seen here in Philippine Star file photo by Michael Varcas.

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment has temporarily stopped accepting and processing applications for overseas Filipino workers’ employment certificates to protect them from illegal recruiters.

“We are taking this important action in view of persistent reports of illegal recruitment activities, including direct hires, to protect the public,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III told a press briefing Friday.

Around 75,000 applications are seen to be affected by the suspension.

According to Department Order 185, the suspension will run from November 13 to December 1 and be enforced by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration on land-based recruitment agencies.

The suspension does not cover Filipinos working for international organizations, the diplomatic corps, royal families, and sea-based agencies.

OFWs currently in the Philippines for “balik-manggagawa” or vacation are also not covered provided they have a job to return to abroad.

DOLE will form a team to investigate the illegal recruitment of Filipinos seeking overseas work.

A reshuffling of POEA employees will also be implemented as part of the Labor Department’s internal cleansing.