At least 22 household workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who fled from their workers were repatriated over the weekend, a UAE news site reported Sunday.
The Khaleej Times reported the batch of 22 is the biggest group sent back so far this year by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).
“Fifty percent of the employers, whose maids ran away, have refused to release their passports unless the expenses incurred on bringing them to UAE were refunded," Welfare Officer Mary Cimangan said.
Cimangan said there were no negotiations or refunds for cases involving physical assault, as in the case of OFW Marilyn Vinluan.
In such cases, she said employers normally declare them "absconding"
and surrender their passports to the immigration authorities to cancel their employment permits.
She noted employers who demand a refund of expenses involve runaway helpers who have worked for just a few months, some even for a few days only.
Records at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) and OWWA show an increase in the number of Filipino household workers complaining of maltreatment, overwork, and non-availability of meals.
Philippine Consul General Benito Valeriano said his staff spends more time outside the consulate filing cases for the household workers, taking them to the hospital, and going to the police and Immigration.
“For professionals, there is a mechanism such as the laws on labor-related work hours and questions arising out of their employment. In the case of household helpers, the employers immediately lodge an ‘absconding report’ once they run away and the pressure is on the household helpers," he said. - GMANews.TV