France eases labor migration rules for Filipinos — envoy
IT, health workers preferred
By Veronica Uy
First Posted 12:21:00 03/31/2008
MANILA, Philippines — Want to work in gay Paris? That would become much easier as France eases its labor migration rules for Filipinos, according to Frances Ambassador to the country Gerald Chesnel.
There will be more Filipinos in France because we have also new regulations for migration. If Filipino workers want to come to France, it is easier now, Chesnel said in an interview at the Belgian Residence in South Forbes Park during the celebration of the International Week of Francophonie.
The ambassador said Filipinos who would be welcome to France would be those who are in the electronic, information technology, and health care industries.
We need [people] especially in electronics, informatics, IT. We need also nurses. We dont have enough in France people who can take care of our old people because in France and most countries in Europe, we dont have enough young people who are willing to take care of the old people. We know that Filipino nurses are very good for that and they respect your people and treat them well. This is the population we would like to welcome, he said.
Chesnel said Europes tourism capital was expected to sign an immigration agreement with the Philippines later this year to formalize this policy shift.
We are in the process of discussions with the Philippine government. We have already signed the letter of intent and we hope to sign the formal agreement this year, he said.
Last February, Brice Hortefeux, French Minister of Immigration, Integration, National Identity, and Co-Development, expressed Frances interest to forge an agreement with Manila to address the needs of its labor market.
We hope it will be useful to both countries, Chesnel said.
The parties involved in the signing are the French Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity, and Co-Development, the Department of Labor (DoLE), and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
The Philippines is among the Asian countries qualified under the third category quota policy set by the Attali Commission. Countries in the third category are those with which France has “traditional links,” including several Asian and African nations.
Chesnel said that part of the immigration agreement with the Philippines would be having these skilled Filipino workers and professionals return to their home country after several years of working in France.
Those who are coming are people who can be useful to France and who can be also usefully trained and useful to the Philippines when they come back. Our policy is not to make brain drain. We think the best thing we can do is to have your competent people to come to France to work for six, nine, 10 years and then they go back to the Philippines, he said.
Chesnel said under the new immigration system, the Filipino workers would leave 20 percent of their salary with either their employer or government which they could get when they go back to the Philippines to use the money to create their own enterprise.
Hortefeuxs views, which were provided by the French embassy in Manila, expounded on Chesnels statements.
“And Ive already put in place, for particularly skilled workers, a specific procedure allowing them a three-year, once renewable, permit to stay in France. This shows that by encouraging the movement of skilled workers, we are rejecting the brain drain,” Hortefeux said, noting a 60-percent increase of foreign workers in France from 10,000 to over 16,000 between 2006 and 2007.
Chesnel said the agreement would not have the French government as a broker for the jobs. He said job contracting would be done through the private sector.
They have to find their work and we will give them visaThere is no quota. You need a visa, and permit to work. The Filipino candidate has to find the job by himself. We can help him but we cant find a job for him, he said.
Philippine records show that about 65,000 Filipino workers are in France, half of them illegally.