Filipino migrant workers to UAE lack protections, labor rights

Each year, 200,000 Filipino workers head to the United Arab Emirates to look for work. Once there, many face violations of human rights and quickly fall into debt through recruitment agencies, according to a new report by the Migration Policy Institute.

Anyone who has spent time in Manila knows the drill: aggressive, state-sponsored recruiting for overseas jobs. Some agencies provide an important service, but many take advantage of a desperate economic situation in the country that forces parents to leave children and recent graduates to flee a nation that so badly needs youthful energy and creativity.

The new report by the Migration Policy Institute takes a look at recruitment agencies that send Filipinos to the UAE, their failings and some possible fixes.

From the Institute’s press release:

“While the two governments have regulated recruitment agencies’ operations for nearly three decades, there is a policy mismatch between the two regulatory systems that, coupled with difficulties in enforcing regulations, has led to inadequate protections for migrant workers as well as a continuing flow of unauthorized workers,” said the report’s author, MPI Policy Analyst Dovelyn Rannveig Agunias.


Kathleen Newland, who directs MPI’s Migrants, Migration, and Development Program, said: “The findings of this study are relevant beyond the Philippines-UAE corridor. They serve as a vital point of reference for other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere as they attempt to balance the need to create a flexible and dynamic labor migration system with the obligation to protect workers’ welfare in an increasingly transnational and interconnected global economy.”

You can find the full report here.


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