Reminder for OFWs in UAE: Be Careful in Signing Work Contracts

Philippine officials in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have cautioned Filipino jobseekers against signing labor contracts immediately upon arrival there.

Filipino workers in United Arab Emirates (UAE) should only sign work contracts in the presence of a representative from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office. This is the advice given by Philippine officials in this Middle Eastern county.

Filipinos who have just arrived in UAE are warned to think twice and be wise before putting their signatures in labor contracts. In cases when UAE employers threaten or pressure an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) to sign a labor contract, the POLO encourage OFWs to immediately get the names of the persons involved and report the incident to their office.

Most employers take advantage of the UAE Labor Law that honors only labor contracts signed in UAE. They prepare this contract with a salary lower than what is originally offered in Manila through government-authorized manpower recruitment agencies.

The POLO issued the warning after increasing number of complaints from Filipino workers regarding inconsistencies from what is written in their work contact. Complaining OFWs say that the salary and benefits indicated in the work contracts they have signed in Manila are markedly different from what they are currently receiving in UAE.

This happens because OFWs upon arrival at UAE are required to sign a UAE labor contract that supposedly should contain the same terms and conditions on salary, work period and time, and other benefits.

But what happens is that most employers change the terms without informing the Philippine Embassy and compel the OFW employee to sign by threatening to send them back to Manila if they didn’t sign. Before signing the contract, OFWs should inform the Philippine labor officials rather than coming to POLO to complain after the signing and experiencing difficulties in their job site.

The labor attaché also explained that job orders of UAE employers are first screened by UAE Labor Minister and the Philippine Labor Attaché for approval before they are given permission to hire OFWs.

They said that after it is approved, it is forwarded to Manila for the manpower recruitment agency chosen by that employer to start processing the papers, which include the signing of a Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) standard labour contract.

The Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi also reminded all UAE-bound OFWs to examine all employment documents they would bring to UAE to avoid substitution.

According to them, it is observed that some workers in the Manila airport, who are carrying brown envelopes supposedly containing their employment documents, have been instructed by manpower recruitment agencies not to open their envelopes until they have reported to their employers.


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