Domestic workers gather in Central on Hong Kong Island. Photo: Asia Times
Domestic workers gather in Central on Hong Kong Island. Photo: Asia Times

Around 20 domestic workers from the Philippines who got work permits from the Hong Kong Immigration Department before November 11 have still not received their Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs) from the Philippine government as scheduled.

The Philippine government issued an order to suspend the processing of applications for OECs from November 13 to December 1 in a bid to curb illegal recruitment activities, but emphasized that workers who got work visas from local authorities before November 11 would not be affected.

A Hong Kong employer surnamed Cheng applied for a work permit for a Filipino domestic worker in August and it was approved on November 3, and the Philippine authorities received the documents on November 8, Ming Pao Daily reported. Cheng expected his domestic worker could get the OEC a week after the Immigration Department’s approval so she could arrive in Hong Kong around November 20 to take care of his two sons. However, he has received no news from the Philippine side so far.

The general manager of Megasea Employment Agency said only three domestic workers handled by his company had received OECs during the period in question and around 20 have been waiting.

Cheung Kit-man, chairman of the Hong Kong Employment Agencies Association, believes that a large number of cases had accumulated, which slowed the processing of the applications. The procedure used to take two working days, but now it may take at least four days.

The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong said it was processing all the applications. Meanwhile, the Labor Department said it would closely cooperate with its Philippine counterpart and monitor the situation.

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