PHL welcomes proposal for possible procedural framework on economic migration

October 27, 2011 9:52 pm 

By Faye P. Velasco

MANILA, Oct. 27 — The Philippines has welcomed the proposal for a possible procedural framework on economic migration under the premises of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos made the statement during the plenary session of the second day of the 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference (AP4) on the work of Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) being held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Makati City.

Around 80 international delegates from 29 countries and 99 Philippine participants from governmental and non-governmental agencies and the academe and officials of the DFA are attending the Conference which will run until October 28.

The conference is organized and hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in conjunction with the Permanent Bureau of the HCCH. It is co-hosted by the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) and the University of the Philippines College of Law.

After the presentation by Secretary General Hans Van Loon of the HCCH, Undersecretary Conejos noted that “Possible use of certain techniques developed by the Hague Conference to certain aspects of international migration like division of responsibilities between states, concept of shared responsibility, designation of central authority for implementation and cross border cooperation in temporary/circular migration, return and reintegration, regulation of recruitment agencies, remittances could have practical application to international labor migration, including in the Philippines.”

Conejos emphasized that the Philippines’ focus is the protection of its migrants, noting that it is one of the few countries which consider protection of rights and promotion of the welfare and interest of Filipinos overseas as one of the three pillars of its foreign policy.

In the pursuit of this objective, Conejos stressed the importance of international cooperation.

“Migration is a cross-border issue. It will only work if there is cooperation,” he said.

Loon observed that techniques developed by the HCCH can be applied to economic migration. For instance, “central authorities” can be designated in each country which would coordinate implementation internally, and communicate and cooperate with counterparts in the other treaty countries. He enumerated other possible areas of cooperation. One of these is the licensing and regulation of intermediaries wherein he explained that licensing and supervising agents could be the responsibility of the government bodies designated under the treaty framework.

Countries could agree on certain minimum requirements as to expertise, experience, financial structure, etc., to which any agencies involved in the recruitment of international migrants should be subject and establish a system of licensing on that basis.

Another possible area of cooperation is with regard to facilitating international remittances. He pointed out that it is vital to introduce and ensure competition between agencies and to make sure that families, in particular in remote areas, have access to financial services and receive their money. He recommended that assistance may be given to counsel migrants, recipients and communities in countries of origin to make effective use of remittances.

Loon noted that the application of this so-called “Hague model” would be strictly limited to temporary/circular legal economic migrants and perhaps including migration for study purposes. States would remain completely free to decide whom to admit, for how long and for what purpose. Furthermore, the advantage of the proposed multilateral approach would be that it would enable global agreement on standards and procedures and an ongoing dialogue on that basis.

Recognizing the cross-border issue, the HCCH endeavors to develop multilateral frameworks for cross-border cooperation on international human relationships and their potential use to circular and other forms of international migration.

The HCCH is an intergovernmental organization that develops international legal cooperation instruments.

The Philippines became a member of the Hague Conference on Private International Law in 2010 and is a signatory to the Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect to Inter-Country Adoption. It is considered to have one of the “best practices” in the implementation of the Inter-country Adoption Convention. (PNA) DCT/scs/FPV


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