Monday, November 19, 2007

20M OFWs needed in Europe

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Western Europe reported that the European Union (EU) has projected that the continent would experience a shortfall of 20 million workers between 2010 and 2030.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Pacticia A. Sto. Tomas stated on Sunday that the shortage for foreign worker is attributed mainly to demographic decline due to the aging population.

Secretary Sto. Tomas said that Europe would need more foreign workers and certainly the projected requirements for foreign workers in Europe would attract OFWs.

The “Green Paper on Economic Migration,” was launched as the solution for the shortage of foreign workers in EU. Its aim is to facilitate the movement of economic migrants from non-EU contries in a bid to sustain the EU. It discussed how to harmonize the EU rules and procedures for migrants from non-EU of the third world countries.

"We may be seeing an exodus of OFWs to Europe in the coming years," she said noting that the POLO in Brussels would complement the other POLOs in other areas in Europe in promoting the employment and welfare of OFWs in the continent.

On the other hand new Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLPO) was opened in Brussels, Belgium to facilitate the provisions of programs and services to the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Benelux countries in Western Europe.

Benelux is an economic union of three neighboring countries, consists of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

DOLE Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas said that POLO, headed by Labor Attaché Ciriaco Lagunzad III, was set up in Brussels strengthen and make the programs and services of the government immediately available to OFWs in Belgium even those who are in the Netherlands and Luxembourg. It would also conduct marketing missions to find jobs for the OFWs not only in the Benelux Belgium but also in other European Union (EU) countries in coordination with other POLOs in Europe.

The services of POLO include the verification of employment documents and job orders, and the provision of on-site welfare services to the OFWs through the Filipino Workers Resource Centers (FWRCs).

The FWRC is a one-stop center which provides the OFWs various services such as counseling and legal service, medical and hospital services, repatriation, post-arrival orientation, settlement, community networking and other skills enhancement programs/activities, orientation program for returning workers, and conciliation of disputes arising from employer-employee relationship.

Likewise, other POLOs in Europe are located in Rome, Milan, Geneva, Madrid, Greece and London.

This article was first published in on January 4, 2006.

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