Domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times
Domestic workers in Hong Kong. Photo: Asia Times

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) has vowed to take action against employment agencies that require Filipino workers returning to Hong Kong to undergo retraining despite being in possession of valid training certificates.

The office received complaints from three Filipino domestic workers on July 29 after they were told by agencies in the Philippines that their National Certificate II documents issued by the Technical Education Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) were invalid, reported.

The workers were told to retrain because NC II documents had been renamed from “household service” to “domestic work.”

Training is one of the biggest costs borne by a Filipino worker before she flies to her destination abroad. A two-week training course offered by an agency costs 15,000 pesos (US$280) or more.

One complainant said she had used two years of the five-year validity certificate as a domestic worker in Malaysia but the agency charged her 25,000 pesos for retraining.

Two of her companions, who were charged 26,000 pesos each, had worked previously in Kuwait and Malaysia.

POLO’s labor attaché in Hong Kong, Nida Romulo, said her office would forward the complaints to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration in Manila, but she did not specify what action might be taken against the errant agencies.

Earlier, assistant labor attaché Ma Nena German said all workers had to do was go to assessment centers accredited by the TESDA and show their valid NC II and employer’s certificates to get the new certification.