Special lanes set up for Taiwan-bound Filipino workers

March 4, 2011 1:22 pm 

MANILA, March 3 — Special arrangements with various government agencies to help Filipino workers secure additional requirements for the processing of their visa application to Taiwan are now in operation, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Thursday.

Ochoa said the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) had complied with his directive to set up special windows to fast-track the request of Taiwan-bound workers.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has also acceded to the request of the Executive Secretary to ease its procedures to expedite the worker’s request for voter’s identification card (ID).

“The creation of special lanes would help ease the impact of the new requirements imposed on Filipino workers by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO),” Ochoa said.

The TECO in Manila had previously announced that it was tightening its visa regulations for Taiwan-bound Filipinos and would require additional document as a prerequisite for the issuance of work permit.

“As I have said, our priority here is the welfare of our citizens who have already obtained employment in Taiwan but are now having difficulty getting their visas to Taiwan because of the new requirements issued by TECO,” Ochoa also said.

Under the new guidelines issued by the economic and cultural office of Taipei, a worker seeking employment must submit DFA- and TECO-authenticated birth certificate and NBI clearance, as well as the original and photocopies of ID cards issued by the SSS, PhilHealth and the Comelec.

In separate reports to the Executive Secretary, the SSS, PhilHealth and the Department of Foreign Affairs said it had set up several special lanes to accommodate the requests of Filipino workers, while Comelec said it had carried out procedures to expedite the issuance of voter’s ID.

According to Ochoa, the SSS has also started issuing certificates to Taiwan-bound workers, stating that the said SSS members have applied for the biometric ID pending the production, supply and actual delivery of the SSS ID cards.

PhilHealth has designated Window No. 20 of its operations office in the Philippine Overseas Workers Administration as a temporary express lane to facilitate the immediate release of the worker’s request for a number card, said PhilHealth president and CEO Dr. Rey Aquino in a letter to the Executive Secretary.

The DFA reported to Ochoa that the Office of the Consular Affairs-Authentication Division had created special lanes dedicated for Taiwan-bound workers and had set up four counters to facilitate the processing of documents requiring authentication.

On a daily average, the department processes documents of around 300 applicants seeking jobs in Taiwan. (PNA)

DCT/scs/PCOO/ssc

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