On new UAE visa rules: PH gov’t should do its part to stop trafficking, illegal recruitment

Global alliance of overseas Filipinos Migrante International today said that the PH government should do its part in stopping rampant illegal recruitment and human trafficking to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in light of the country’s newly-imposed stricter visa guidelines.

The UAE’s Federal Residency Department has adopted more stringent visa regimes, effectively banning tourist, visit and conference visas for specific categories and sectors from labor exporting countries, including the Philippines.

Categories banned from obtaining tourist, visit or conference visas include electricians, pipe fitters, masons, farmers, drivers, tailors and cleaners. Applicants are now required to have round-trip tickets, proofs of a confirmed hotel booking and enough money to finance they stay. Workers wanting to enter the UAE are also now required to have university degrees, among other requirements.

The move is supposedly intended to curb the influx of trafficked and undocumented workers following the recent spate of arrests of made by the UAE government.

Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, said that while the UAE government’s intentions are understandable, they fear that this recent development may further criminalize undocumented migrant workers and discriminate against overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Martinez also said that such efforts will be futile and will only aggravate the illegal recruitment and trafficking of OFWs from the Philippines if the PH government will not do its part.

“It all starts in the sending country. For as long as illegal recruitment/human trafficking is a thriving industry in the Philippines in which perpetrators and government coddlers remain unpunished, desperate Filipino workers will continue to be victimized, with or without stricter visa rules,” he said.

The United Kingdom, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States have also recently imposed stricter immigration measures.

Martinez criticized the Aquino government’s failure to address rampant unemployment and low wages in the country as one of the major reasons forcing Filipino workers to go abroad because of desperation.

Dahil sa kawalan ng oportunidad dito sa ating bansa, ang gobyerno na mismo ang nagtutulak sa ating mga kababayan na lumabas ng bansa sa kahit na anong paraan. Dahil rin sa walang napaparusahan at maraming mga kakuntsaba mismo sa loob ng gobyerno kaya patuloy ang ganitong mga kalakaran.”

“That makes no less than Pres. Aquino the No. 1 illegal recruiter and human trafficker of our OFWs,” Martinez said. ###