Is POEA making it harder for Philippine physical therapists to work in the U.S.?

In order for a foreign-trained physical therapist to work in the U.S, the candidate will undergo a licensing process, examinations, English proficiency exams and the immigration process. These steps take a lot of time, money and effort.

A sponsoring company has to invest a lot of resources on the candidate. For H1-b, the company has to petition the candidate by April1st, then hope that the candidate gets chosen by the computerized lottery process. If not selected, they have to wait for the next year. All the time, money and resources used will go to waste. Sponsoring a foreign-trained physical therapist is a gamble. Each candidate has a one out of three chance.

For Philippine-trained physical therapist, there is one extra step- the POEA process. Aside from the tedious step listed above, every employer should pay the POEA accredited agency for the exit clearance. The amount allowed by the POEA is equivalent to one mont salary. At 25 dollars per hour, this can be up to 5,000 dollars. Also, each sponsoring employer should follow these rules:

  1. No foreign employer may hire a Filipino worker from the Philippines for overseas employment except through Philippine-licensed placement agencies or the Philippine Overseas Recruitment Agency (POEA). Foreign principals/employers who wish to advertise overseas job vacancies may do so only through a Philippine-licensed agency or through the POEA.
  2. A Filipino worker may, however, directly apply for employment to a foreign employer without the assistance of a placement agency or may also course his application through a placement agency. If he directly applies to foreign employer without the assistance or intervention of a Philippine-registered placement agency and is subsequently employed by the foreign employer, the procedure is called Name-Hiring.
  3. The list of duly registered and in good standing placement agencies in the Philippines can be verified at Foreign employers hiring employers through a recruitment entity or intermediaries not registered or in good standing with POEA may be held criminally and/or administratively liable under Philippine law.
  4. The general mode of hiring Filipino workers for private employment is through private Philippine-registered placement agency or the POEA. However, a Filipino national may directly apply to a foreign employer provided he was not assisted by a Philippine-registered placement agency through the so-called Name-Hiringprocess:
  5. If through private Philippine-registered placement agency, the employer must be submit the following to the Embassy for verification and authentication:
  1. Special Power of Attorney or Recruitment Agreement with the  Philippine registered placement agency.
  2. Manpower Request/Job Order stating the position and salary.
  3. Master Employment Contract.
  4. Business License/Company Registration.
  5. Copy of Sponsorship Nomination Approval issued by DIMIA.
  6. If the worker directly applied and secured the job from the principal employer through the Name-Hiring process, the employer must submit the following to the

Embassy for verification and authentication:

  1. Employment Contract signed by principal employer.
  2. Business License/Company Registration.
  3. Copy of Sponsorship Nomination Approval issued by DIMIA
  4. Prior to sending the documents to the Philippine Embassy, all private documents must be authenticated first.
  5. In addition to the mandatory entitlements, the employment contract must contain the following minimum provisions prescribed by Philippine labor and social legislation:
  1. Guaranteed wages for regular work hours and overtime pay, which shall not be lower than the prescribed minimum wage for the particular position or not lower than the appropriate minimum wage standards set forth in a bilateral agreement or international convention, if applicable, or not lower than the minimum wage in the Philippines, whichever is highest;
  • Free transportation to and from the worksite, or offsetting benefit;
  • Free food and accommodation, or offsetting benefit;
  • Just/authorized causes for termination of the contract or of the services of the workers taking into consideration the customs, traditions, mores, practices, company policies and the labor laws and social legislation.
  1. Upon verification and authentication of the documents required under paragraphs 5 and 6, the Philippine Embassy will return them to the principal employers who would subsequently send them to their appointed Philippine-registered placement agency or to the name hire, as the case may be.
  2. Unless otherwise agreed upon with the Philippine-registered placement agency, the principal employer shall be responsible for the payment of the following expenses of the worker/s to be hired:
  1. visa fee
  2. airfare
  3. POEA processing fe
  4. membership fee to the Overseas Worker Welfare Agency (OWWA)
  5. There is an authentication fee per document. Payment may be made via postal money order or bank check to the Philippine Embassy. The application for authentication should also include a prepaid self-addressed envelope for the return of processed documents to the principal employer.
  6. All immigration consultancy agencies based in the Philippines and other similar entities which do not limit themselves to document facilitation and visa assistance for immigrants, but also engage in recruitment and placement activities are required to obtain a license with POEA regardless of the visa under which deployment shall be made eventually.
  7. Foreign-based immigration consultancy agencies and other similar entities are not allowed to engage in recruitment and placement activities, except through licensed agencies to which they may seek accreditation or registration.
  8. Individuals or business entities not duly registered with POEA and acting as intermediaries to facilitate the recruitment of Filipinos may be held criminally liable under Philippine laws. Likewise, the individuals or officers of said business entities may be blacklisted and barred from entering the Philippines.

With this list, do you think POEA is protecting its citizens from illegal recruitment or just making it harder for Philippine physical therapists. If the sponsoring company will follow all these steps, it will cost them at least 10,000 dollars easy. This is not required in other countries.

We will welcome your comments, and letters. Please post them on our forums or write us on the letters to the editor section.


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