Wednesday, December 22, 2010

PHL, Switzerland form group to promote job opportunities for OFWs

A Philippine-Swiss joint working group (JWG) has been formed to promote job opportunities in Switzerland for prospective overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the JWG was convened at the Swiss Federal Office of Migration (FOM) last December 16.

“The JWG will give particular attention to prospective hospital employers of Filipino nurses, whose entry into Switzerland as professional trainees is covered by the existing Philippine-Swiss trainee exchange agreement," the DFA said in its website.

According to the DFA, the JWG Рan initiative of Philippine Ambassador Maria Theresa Lazaro, Labor Attach̩ Manuel Imson and the Swiss FOM officials Рwill seek to maximize the Philippine-Swiss Agreement on the exchange of trainees.

Consul Lilibeth Pono, Labor Attaché Imson and two FOM officials were appointed as member focal points of the JWG, while the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the FOM were identified as agency focal points.

In forming the JWG, Philippine officials noted a minimal number of trainees who have so far availed of the exchange agreement.

The exchange agreement, signed in 2002, has provided for the deployment of 50 trainees per country per year, but according to the DFA, only about 20 trainees from the Philippines have been deployed to date.

“The low turnout may be attributed to the lack of awareness about the agreement by potential employers and trainees," it said.

In its first meeting, the JWG decided to review and streamline procedures for the hiring and deployment of trainees.

Also, it aimed to design a model trainee agreement acceptable to both the Philippines and Switzerland.

The group also decided to formulate an information dissemination and marketing plan to identify and attract prospective employers in Switzerland.

“The group has expressed optimism that upon the full operationalization of the Agreement, new windows of opportunity will be opened. These include the expansion of the quota on the number of trainees and the increased flexibility in the categories of skills of trainees to be qualified under the agreement," the DFA said. - Jerrie M. Abella/KBK, GMANews.TV

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