Rising Up Coalition: Protect TFWs from Bad Recruiters and Employers

  • Page Views 242
  • It is illegal to charge a worker a fee for work in B.C.

    We understand that and yet we know this exchange of money happens.  Yes, it is illegal but that has not stopped recruiters from charging fees for migrant workers to work in Canada. Recruitment fees are not legal,  and recruiters and employers break the law when they do so. Rising Up Against Unjust Recruitment, a new coalition, is calling on the Labour MinisterShirley Bond  to STOP this.

    In an open letter to Minister Shirley Bond delivered by courier last Friday, April 6, more than 30 groups and organizations, from unions, lawyers, academic community, grassroots organizations, service providers, faith-based groups, migrant advocates,  signed on to strongly demand that the BC government take firm action and stop the abuse of TFWs from recruiters and employers who exact thousands of dollars in illegal recruitment fees from these workers.

    We know this exaction of recruitment fees happens, even in our Filipino community. It comes in various forms with different payment plans;  the combination of this debt burden, long before these workers leave for their jobs abroad, the low wages they receive in their host countries, their tied work permits to a single employer and their precarious temporary status makes migrant workers vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

    How much are we talking about here? Typical fees range from $5,000 to $12,000 for jobs and desperation will push workers to borrow to pay these fees, with high interest of course. “Kapit patalim” provides the graphic image of workers gripping the sharp blade of a knife.

    We know that there are cases where workers pay fees for promised jobs and contracts only to arrive in Canada and find out there are no jobs exist. This is referred to as “release upon arrival.” Other workers find their jobs are not what is written in their work permits or that the conditions of their work do not match what are on the contract. Recruitment fees and violations of work contracts were two issues that featured in the class action suit filed by the Filipino TFWs against their employer, Denny’s Restaurants.

    Oversight is not enough and law enforcement in this situation has no teeth. This is the reason why unjust recruitment continues to happen. Can workers get the fees they paid back? Almost impossible if the fees were paid to a partner recruiter outside of Canada because the long arm of the law does not stretch that far. If recruiters are BC based, the worker complainant would have to make sure that they complain within the six-month limitation period set by the Employment Standards Branch.

    In the open letter, the Rising Up Coalition wrote “… we strongly urge the provincial government to enact legislation and policy to ensure that the Employment Standards Branch is mandated to proactively investigate, enforce and penalize offending recruiters and employers. In doing so, BC would be aligning itself with six other provinces which have recognized the need to protect vulnerable TFWs through legislation.”

    If there is political will and if there is genuine concern for the rights of migrant workers, BC should be working to be in line with the six Canadian provinces that have implemented better legislation to protect migrant workers, including enforcment regulation of employment agents and recruiters and of proactive enforcement.  After Alberta, BC is the second destination for TFWs in their thousands, and yet , BC has been overtaken by the other provinces — Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta — in giving migrant workers their due.

    To read the open letter in full, visit the website of the Rising Up coalition at http://www.risingup.ca

    To add your name to the petition, visit the site as well. Rather than helplessly accepting that recruitment fees are here to stay ( “talagang ganiyan kasi” ) , we can actually start to rise up, question, and demand that things change. Rise up and sign the petition to end unjust recruitment and protect migrant workers.

    Tinig Migrante by E. Maestro

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 18 August 2017
      3 days ago No comment

      The Angelos and an Anti-Drug Youth Program

      Angel Thoughts “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”—Aristotle Food for thought for those who don’t think seriously about climate change…a trillion-ton ice cap broke off in Antarctica this week. Think how they will elevate ocean levels all over the world and affect global warming! * * ...

    • 15 August 2017
      6 days ago No comment

      Rene Salud’s Philippine Tapestry show to dazzle Vancouver on August 20

      It takes a Philippine ambassador of fashion, Renee Salud, to come up with “Philippine Tapestry” – an initiative to highlight all the major weaves of the island, in an effort to promote indigenous materials and the age-old artistry of Filipino weaving. This, while highlighting the exceptional beauty of the ...

    • duterte-invites-trudeau-tovisit-philippines-philippineasiannewstoday
      11 August 2017
      1 week ago No comment

      Duterte invites Trudeau to Manila

      A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson in Manila has announced that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has invited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit the country. Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar on August 6 said that the Philippines has requested Trudeau to attend the Association of the South East Asian Nations ...

    • 10 August 2017
      2 weeks ago No comment

      La Luna Sangre continues to win hearts of viewers

      The lives of Malia and Tristan get more exciting and dangerous as their story continues in “La Luna Sangre” airing outside the Philippines via TFC’s platforms worldwide ABS-CBN’s highly anticipatedepic saga series “La Luna Sangre”, top-billed by Kathryn Bernardo,Daniel Padilla, and Richard Gutierrez, with the special participation of Angel ...

    • 10 August 2017
      2 weeks ago No comment

      Jona of Team Sarah is the first The Voice Teens Grand Champion

      Team Sarah’s Jona Soquite was declared the first-ever grand champion of “The Voice Teens”in the country and in Asia after receiving 44.78% of the public text and online votes in the program’s grand finale Sunday night (July 30). Jona, Sarah’s third artist to win the top-rating singing competition, beat ...

    %d bloggers like this: