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The Philippines => Philippine Daily News => Topic started by: hazel on November 06, 2007, 02:23:49 AM

Title: Filipino Caregivers Protest vs UK Employment Rule
Post by: hazel on November 06, 2007, 02:23:49 AM

More than 4,000 medical workers in the United Kingdom, including at least 100 senior Filipino caregivers, joined a protest march and rally at the Trafalgar Square in Central London over the weekend to question the policy of the British Home Office that may send them home to the Philippines.

UK-based Filipino carers said they will not go back to the Philippines even if their work permits are not renewed by the Home Office, Danny Buenafe o the ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau reported.

The health workers said they would rather take their chance as "illegals" in the UK than contribute to the worsening unemployment rate in the Philippines.

Based on the new Home Office policy, the contracts of overseas carers under five years would no longer be renewed unless employers will offer them an hourly rate of 7.02 pounds (639 Philippine pesos).

Most caring homes, however, could not afford the hourly rate of 7.02 pounds.

Joe Borja, a Filipino carer, could not help but cry when the decision came out. He said his existing work permit is set to expire next month.

Borja has been working as a senior carer in North Wales since 2003. He has become emotional about the issue considering that he is supposed be granted a residency status by June next year or barely six months after his work permit expires this December.

"Pumunta ako dito dahil may alam ako. Anlaki ng experience ko sa ospital, kaya ako tinanggap (I went here because I have knowledge. I have vast hospital experience. I was admitted) because of my experience handling the mentally-ill patients. And then [for] 7.02 [pounds], I'm going home? that's unfair!" said Borja.

Borja is just one of the thousands of affected Filipino carers facing the same dilemma.

Ronald Cortez, meanwhile, appealed to President Arroyo to interfere on their behalf, saying this is the best gift the Philippine government can give, considering that overseas Filipino workers contribute billions of dollars to the Philippine economy.

"Kung naririnig man ni Madam President, sana tulungan din kami. Kasi nakaka-contribute din naman kami eh (If Madam President is listening, I hope she helps us. Because we contribute to the Philippines)," said Cortez.

Other Filipinos are hoping that their problem would be addressed when the President visits London on December 5-6.

Several British Members of Parliament, meanwhile, are supporting the Filipinos' cause.

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