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Expatriate Insurance News: Filipino expats 'exploited by agencies'

Thousands of Filipino expatriate workers are being exploited by recruitment agencies in the UAE, a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has found.

Most of the 200,000 Filipino employees who relocate to the Emirates each year are managed by private recruitment agencies in the UAE and Philippines but some companies employ unscrupulous practices, it was revealed.

"While the recruitment agencies provide critical services such as logistical support and information about visa policies, living and working conditions, some abuse their clients by charging exorbitant fees or violating basic human rights," the report said.

Domestic workers, such as maids, are particularly vulnerable to these middlemen.

It recommended that the practices and regulation of such services in the UAE and Philippines need "significant improvement".

Both countries’ governments have been regulating agencies and their operations for nearly three decades, but there is still a "policy mismatch" between the two systems, report author Migration Policy Institute policy analyst Dovelyn Agunias wrote.

She noted that a three-tier labour migration system is the result, with an unregulated, unauthorised flow of workers at the bottom who bypass the recruitment process altogether and migrate to the UAE with a visitor visa.

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