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European Union May Legalize Undocumented Filipinos

Filipino Press/Manilatimes.net, Posted: Nov 19, 2009

Instead of flushing out the around 100,000 undocumented Filipinos in Europe, the European Union (EU) plans to legalize their stay for helping keep the continents economy afloat amid the global economic crisis.

Philippines Ambassador Christina Ortega announced that legalizing the undocumented Filipinos in Europe, as well as issuance of blue cards to Filipino professionals who wish to work in Europe, was suggested in negotiations between the Philippines and the European Union on the proposed Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) held in Manila.

This measure is being considered to encourage those without documents to voluntarily opt to legalize their status, Ortega told a press briefing held at the Department of Foreign Affairs. She said the issuance of a blue card would make the European Unions migration policy even better, since the card allows its owner to bring in his family to Europe.

I think its a good start, and we are very optimistic that the PCA will consider this since this would really protect our migrant workers in Europe, Ortega added.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Edcel Custodio said that the Philippines and the European Union held a technical meeting in September concerning migration issues, and that the two sides agreed on strengthening the human-rights framework for the benefit of migrant workers.

James Moran, the director for Asia of the External Relations Department of the European Commission, said that the agreement would make sure that the rights of legal migrant workers in Europe were well protected. The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union.

Moran noted that one million Filipinos working in Europe were remitting 2 million euros a year to their families in the Philippines.

Europe already has the European Unions Employer Sanctions Directive in place that is expected to take effect in the spring and become enforceable in the 27 member states on or before the third quarter of 2011.

The sanctions directive requires all employers (including individual household employers) to verify the status of their migrant employees thru their residence permit or other authorization to stay and notify the authorities as well.

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