The Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) yesterday said first-time direct hiring from all foreign labor source countries could be introduced as soon as next year, as countries work on building their human resource databases.
In December 2007, the council set up the Direct Hiring Service Center to help employers hire foreign workers without having to go through a third-party agency. The goal was to streamline the hiring process to protect workers from exploitation by employment agencies, while allowing employers to save on time and money when hiring foreign workers.
In addition to saving fees on first-time recruitment, the center would also accelerate the process of foreign worker permit renewals, as it would reduce the amount of time during which employees must return to their home countries to apply for a renewal of their Approval Letter for the Employment of Foreign Labor. It would also reduce the need for employers of foreign workers to find a temporary replacement during the hiatus.
Starting in December 2007, the council conducted a year-long test-run of the program on recruitment renewals for foreign caregivers, after which it was gradually expanded to include foreign construction and manufacturing workers, as well as first-time recruitments.
Council officials said that as direct hiring of new foreign workers requires employers to select employees from a pool of potential recruits, it would not be possible without a comprehensive and official human resource database system set up by the foreign labor source country.
The Philippine government is the first foreign labor source country to have created a human resource database system, and Taiwanese companies seeking to directly hire foreign industrial workers, such as construction workers, can apply to participate in the program.
Officials said the council was actively working with other countries — including Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam — to establish worker registration systems and information exchange platforms in order to expand direct hiring services for first-time recruits from all countries.