Foreign agencies deploying OFWs to Kuwait directed to put up escrow fund

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THE Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has issued an order directing foreign placement agencies (FPAs) hiring domestic workers for Kuwait to put up an escrow account for their possible money claims in contract disputes.

POEA’s Memorandum Circular 10-A, dated July 26, directs the said agencies to deposit a minimum US$10,000 at a reputable bank authorized by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The escrow deposit, POEA said, “shall answer for all valid and legal claims arising from the violation of the employment contracts with the workers.”

The escrow requirement applies to FPAs requesting or renewing their accreditation with a Philippine recruitment agency (PRA).

“If the FPA is accredited or to be accredited to more than one PRA, it needs to put up only one escrow deposit,” the order read. “The escrow deposit of FPA and the escrow of the PRA shall be equally applied to answer for the awards to the workers.”

If the FPA has a pending Disciplinary Action against Employer (DAE) case during the renewal of its accreditation, the FPA will be required to put up an additional escrow deposit which shall not exceed US$ 50,000 and which shall be subject to the following schedule of payment: US$3,000 per case with regards to one to five pending case/s; US$4,000 per case with regards to six to 10 pending cases; and US$5,000 per case with regards to 11 or more pending cases.

“In case the escrow deposit has been garnished, the FPA shall replenish the escrow deposit within fifteen (15) days from the receipt of Notice to Replenish Escrow Deposit,” the order read further. “Failure to comply with such notice will result in suspension of the documentary processing of the FPA until its compliance.”

The order also stipulates terms for the release of escrow deposits upon the cancelation or expiration of an FPA’s registration or accreditation, or after an FPA has ceased its operations. — Gillian M. Cortez