POEA Requires Foreign Employers To Provide Free Vaccination for OFWs
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) requires foreign countries and employers to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for employees hired from the Philippines.
POEA Chief Bernard Olalia noted that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will not be deployed unless the host country or employer assures that the employee will receive vaccination against COVID-19.
Olalia states, “That’s our existing policy. We will not allow OFWs to be deployed if they are not included in the priority vaccination program of the receiving countries.”
He added, “One of the mandates of POEA is to promote the welfare and protect the rights of our OFWs.”
Olalia cited Israel for having agreed to include 400 Filipino caregivers in their COVID-19 vaccination program upon their arrival in the country.
Olalla noted that the same applies to other skilled workers, especially those who could work as a frontliner in the receiving country.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), all Filipino household service workers deployed to the country were assured to be administered the vaccine upon arrival.
According to the POEA Chief, no country or employer has rejected the agency’s new policy so far. Olalia also argued that the new policy ensures the safety of OFWs, as well as the employers and their current staff from COVID-19.
Ideally, OFWs should undergo vaccination before their deployment, but due to the limited availability of vaccines in the Philippines, such employees must be vaccinated at their destination.
Based on data from the different Philippine Overseas Labor Offices, close to 16,000 OFWs worldwide have been infected with COVID-19.