By Pinoy OFW on November 13, 2015
New Zealand dairy farms are now looking for employees coming from India, Sri Lanka and the Middle East as Philippine authorities tighten its policy on immigrants, according to a dairy industry recruiter.
John Fegan, chief executive of Fegan & Co., a specialist in rural recruitment, says the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is now demanding that New Zealand farmers shoulder all expenses including airfare and could cost an employer up to NZ$10,000 (P308,054), according to Stuff.
“The candidates can’t pay for anything. Employers are also expected to pay time and a half over and above an eight-hour day, but in New Zealand dairy workers are paid a salary. It’s not the way it works. It’s suddenly become very expensive to bring Filipinos into the country,” Fegan said.
The rising cost of hiring Filipinos prompted employers to look elsewhere. Now, farmers are turning to India, Sri Lanka and the Middle East for dairy workers.
“The POEA was asking for confirmation of stuff I wasn’t comfortable with,” Fegan, who travels to the Philippines twice a year to recruit workers, said. Now he has decided not to do business there.
The changes in policy by the Philippine government comes after an expose by a local television uncovered the exploitation of Filipino construction workers involved in rebuilding Christchurch.
While priority in hiring Filipino dairy workers has been lowered, Fegan maintains high regard towards Filipinos’ work ethics.
“The Filipinos are highly regarded by the farmers. Hard working, and clean living and they really appreciated being here,” he says.
Bruce Porteus, chief executive of Immigration Placements Ltd (IPS), one of New Zealand’s oldest recruitment agency, agrees to Fegan’s sentiments.
“Our farmer will be saying, ‘Why should I pay when I can get someone from Sri Lanka or Nepal?’ It is penalizing the Filipinos,” he said.
Until recently IPS helped about 200 Filipino dairy workers migrate to New Zealand each year, but that all changed with the new government policies.
“Previously a Filipino could organise himself a job in New Zealand, but now the government is saying they must go through an agency. The government allows people to travel, but not on a work visa unless they pay POEA and a licensed agent. They can’t leave the country until they get an overseas placement through an agent.”