THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday announced that it has started enforcing the government ban on the deployment of newly-hired overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) or any domestic workers to Kuwait.
BI acting port operations division (POD) chief Grifton Medina, said immigration officers in the different international ports have been instructed to strictly enforce the ban imposed by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Medina said the ban applies to all newly-hired household service workers (HSWs) recruited for deployment to the Middle Eastern emirate.
He explained that departing Kuwaiti-bound HSWs whose overseas employment certificates were issued prior to the cut-off date of Jan. 3, 2020 as set by DOLE, are still valid for deployment and thus will be allowed to leave.
The BI implemented the ban after the bureau received a copy of a January 3 resolution from the governing board of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) ordering a partial deployment ban for Filipino domestic workers to Kuwait.
In the resolution, the POEA also imposed a moratorium on the verification, accreditation, and processing of individual contracts and additional job orders for HSWs.
Exempted from the ban, however, are HSWs, whose overseas employment certificates [OEC] were issued on or before 5 p.m. of January 3, 2020.
Medina warned agencies against attempting to circumvent the ban. “Our system is integrated with POEA’s [system] hence with a click of a finger, we would be able to verify an OFW’s records immediately,” he shared.
Meanwhile, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente in a statement said that they are ready to implement any changes in foreign policy or OFW deployment, should the Department of Foreign Affairs or DOLE impose a ban for Iraq, Iran, and Libya.
The statement came amidst brewing tension between the United States and Iran, following the death of Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds military force.
“The government’s primary concern is the welfare of our kababayan, hence the BI is ready to implement any directive regarding our foreign policy or OFW deployment should the concerned agencies see a need to implement any change,” said Morente.