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Guidance on the Verification of Employment Documents
1. Effective 15 March 2023, all requests for MWO (POLO) Vancouver verification must satisfactorily comply with the revised checklist of documentary requirements;
2. The revised Checklist includes the required Affidavit of Undertaking to be submitted by the Employer and Immigration Consultant, as the case may be. Another Affidavit of Undertaking shall likewise be submitted by the Philippine Recruitment Agency.
The Undertaking is aimed to ensure that Filipino workers are not being charged fees for the LMIA services and other recruitment-related fees. This new requirement is based on the new amendments to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
Philippine laws and regulations likewise prohibit fees to be charged against the workers (which should however be shouldered by the employers). These prohibited fees include all services related to the act of hiring or recruitment or securing employment, such as LMIA, work permit, visa fee, airfare, POEA processing fee, OWWA membership contribution, among others.
This new requirement is also being implemented to address the increasing fraudulent practices among Immigration consultants who have reportedly been charging exorbitant fees against the workers, oftentimes without the knowledge of the employers. Fees being charged by some unscrupulous immigration consultants are being done in the guise of “immigration service”.
3. Employers in Canada will be required to submit an affidavit of undertaking (which must be notarized by a commissioner of oath) that he will assume responsibility to pay for all recruitment costs, including LMIA work permit application, visa fee, airfare from the Philippines to jobsite, POEA processing fee, OWWA membership fee and insurance coverage for the workers. The employer shall also ensure that his immigration consultant or third party representative had not charged any recruitment-related fees against the Filipino worker, and will undertake to reimburse the same should there be fees paid by the worker. This requirement will be required for both direct hire exemption as well as regular agency recruitment.
4. Documents submitted must be arranged in the prescribed order or sequence for easy evaluation and processing. The list of documents sent for verification must be enumerated in the covering letter addressed to the Labor Attaché;
5. Employers are advised to make sure that the employment contract/employment offer must be dated and signed by the worker/employee and the employer ON ALL PAGES;
6. MWO verification of the required documents is a requisite for registration by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the processing of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for the recruited or hired Filipino worker. The verification function is intended to ensure the legal existence of the employer/company, its financial capacity to pay the salary offered and comply with the terms and conditions of employment. It also verifies the authenticity of the work permit of the worker;
7. The hiring of Filipino workers by foreign employers or companies may be done thru (a) agency hiring; (b) direct hiring; and (3) government to government arrangement as agreed upon thru a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), or bilateral labor agreements;
8. As a general rule, Philippine laws and regulations allow the deployment of Filipino workers for overseas jobs based on agency-hiring. This means that foreign employers or companies hiring Filipino workers must deal with and enter into a recruitment agreement with a duly licensed Philippine recruitment agency for the purpose of sourcing out, screening and selecting suitable and qualified applicants. The Philippine recruitment agency shall be responsible for the submission and processing of the documents verified by MWO to the DMW, and shall assist hired or selected workers with all the pre-travel and deployment requirements in the Philippines including the pre-departure orientation service (PDOs). As a protective measure, the PRAs shall be jointly and severally liable to the workers in case of contractual violations of the terms and conditions of employment;
9. Direct-hire processing of contracts, on the other hand, is merely an exemption to the rule. It is not a matter of right. It may be allowed subject to certain criteria or conditions. The Migrant Workers Office (MWO) may or may not recommend direct hiring, which authority however rests solely with the Secretary (Minister) of the Department of Migrant Workers. Such being the case, direct hiring may be recommended or allowed on a one-time/one transaction basis only for company/business employers in Canada who are hiring up to a maximum of 5 workers (in lieu of the current practice of allowing piecemeal and cumulative processing of up to 5 workers). An employer who had previously availed of the direct-hire exemption will no longer be allowed to directly hire and is kindly advised to tie-up with, and process their contracts through a duly licensed Philippine recruitment agency of their choice;
10. Filipino workers being employed on direct-hire must be for jobs belonging to TEERs 1, 2 & 3 only, of the updated National Occupation Classification (NOC) of Canada and must be offered an hourly wage rate of not lower than the provincial/territorial/area median wage as prescribed in the Job Bank website (www.jobbank.gc.ca). Employers hiring Filipino workers under TEERs 4 & 5 will have to be processed through a Philippine recruitment agency.
11. Submission of the application to our office for direct hire exemption shall, at all times, be done directly by the employer. No intermediary or third party representatives shall be recognized except those registered as recruitment agencies in Canada. Documents submitted by third party representatives shall be disapproved and returned.
12. Incomplete submission of documents, payments, or other deficiencies including missing signatures shall not be processed and will be immediately returned back to senders. Employers are advised to strictly comply with all the requirements to avoid delay. Release of verified documents shall be done within seven (7) working days after evaluation and completion of all the requirements. MWO Vancouver reserves the right to refuse applications which are not in conformity with the minimum requirements and standards prescribed under Philippine laws and regulation.
13. All documents should be sent in two (2) separate sets or copies together with a self-addressed pre-paid return envelope (Canada Express Post, others) to the address below:
The Labor Attaché
Migrant Workers Office (MWO)
Philippine Consulate General
Suite 601, 999 Canada Place
Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1