The Slovenia Times

New agency to bring Filipino workers to Slovenia

People in Manila. Photo: Xinhua/STA

Slovenia is yet to officially open its consulate in the Philippines, but since the end of January Philippine citizens can claim a permit to reside and work in Slovenia there. Now a Croatian agency has opened its subsidiary in Slovenia which it says will bring 1,000 to 1,500 Filipino workers to the country every year.

The latest data from the national Statistical Office shows there are almost 140,600 foreign workers in Slovenia, accounting for more than 15% of the active population. The foreign workforce included 143 Filipinos as of January. The figure is set to increase substantially.

With a population of 115 million, the Philippines is one of the biggest exporters of workforce with an estimated 11 million working abroad.

Slovenia has decided a while ago to open a consulate in the Philippines to make it easier for Filipinos to claim the necessary permits to get employment in Slovenia in a bid to alleviate staff shortages.

Since the end of January Philippine citizens can submit their biometric data in Manila and Cebu and claim their single residence and work permit there.

As a result of these efforts, Croatian agency Pinoy 385 has opened a subsidiary in Slovenia. Also active in Hungary and Slovakia, the agency has brought over more than 5,000 Filipino workers in the past five years.

The Slovenian subsidiary, Pinoy 386, is registered as an agency that provides workers, meaning they will be employed directly by the company they work for. It plans to bring 1,000 to 1,500 Filipino workers to Slovenia every year.

Speaking at a press conference in Ljubljana on 27 March, the agency's founder and director Stjepan Jagodin said the Philippines' ministry for migrant workers has secured strict regulation for its oversees workers.

News conference of Pinoy 386, a Slovenian subsidiary of the Pinoy agency, which helps Philippine workers to come to work in Europe. Photo: STA

Filipino workers can be recruited on the condition that they are granted the same employment and working conditions as comparable workers have in the host country, which Jagodin said prevents companies from underpaying Filipino workers or cutting wages in specific sectors.

Employers also have to pay for the Filipino worker's return air fare, the cost of residence permits, medical check-ups, and such.

European countries are very attractive for Filipino workers. The average wage in the Philippines is around US$300, they work ten hours a day, six days a week, have seven to ten days of annual leave and sick pay for up to seven days.

Slovenian companies have already expressed interest in Philippine workers, especially those in retail, logistics, hospitality and tourism. Jagodic also expects them to get hired in social care.

Pinoy 386 director Anuška Cerovšek Beltram highlighted some of the advantages of Filipinos, from being fluent in English to being "very very flexible, integrating quickly, and being very hard-working".

However, Goran Lukić, the head of an NGO that helps migrant workers in Slovenia, expressed concern about their labour rights, especially because Philippine workers are used to poorer working conditions at home.

He said a preventive mechanism should be set up where stakeholders such as Pinoy, Slovenia's Labour Inspectorate, the Employment Service and the consulate properly inform the incoming workers of employers that have a poor record with the Labour Inspectorate.

Slovenia and the Philippines are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of labour at the beginning of April.˘


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