Monday, April 18, 2016

Loan assistance available to OFWs heading to Korea under EPS program

Filipinos heading to South Korea to work under the Employment Permit System (EPS) may now avail of a loan assistance program by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Land Bank of the Philippines.
Under the Memorandum of Agreement signed by DOLE and Landbank on April 8, the OFW Pre-Departure Loan Facility can lend departing OFWs up to P52,000 to pay for their pre-departure fees and tide their relatives over while they wait for remittances.
The loan amount is payable in 12 months and has a fixed interest rate of 10 percent per annum.
OFWs interested in availing of the program must be at least 21 years old and must be enrolled in any Landbank banking programs.
DOLE said the OFWs must enroll their accounts "under the mandatory account requirement of HRD Korea in its computerized system for insurance benefits at the end of the worker’s stay in Korea."
They must also pay the processing fee and "execute the OFW deed of undertaking to pay the loan."
According to DOLE, mobilization fees for EPS workers typically goes up to P21,879. These fees include:
  • P1,028 for the mandatory TB test;
  • P1,200 for re-medical fee
  • P500 for preliminary training
  • P5,786 for the e-Receipt or the Overseas Employment Certificate consisting of POEA processing fee, OWWA contribution, PhilHealth premium, and Pag-IBIG contribution
  • P2,250 visa fee
  • P11,000 or P16,000 for their airfare, and
  • P115 for their NBI clearance
"With this government assistance, we are confident that the strong cooperation we have with the Government of South Korea for the Employment Permit System will continue to be sustained in a very proactive way," said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.
"This is a mechanism we are putting in place for our OFWs to enjoy the higher quota for the Philippines. This year, the labor quota for the Philippines is 6,800," she added.
The Philippines is one of the original six countries that signed the EPS agreement with South Korea's Ministry of Employment and Labor (MOEL) in April 2004.
Hernandez said allowing Filipinos to return to their employers would lead to "greater or enhanced productivity and is beneficial not only to the parties involved but to the Korean economy as well."
The DOLE release stated that EPS workers earn $1,200 monthly without overtime, registering a marked increase from the $500 they earned since 2004. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News
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