Workforce: agreement signed in Philippines

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Tourism State Secretary Susanne Kraus-Winkler and WKÖ Secretary General Karlheinz Kopf signed an agreement on Wednesday in the Philippines to recruit qualified workers, according to information released by the Ministry of Economy and the Economic Chamber.

Austria wants to counter the shortage of skilled labour with workers from the Philippines. To this end, Kraus-Winkler, representing Minister of Economy Martin Kocher (ÖVP), signed an agreement with Kopf to recruit qualified workers, the Ministry of Economy and the Chamber of Commerce announced in a statement.

Agreement Austria-Philippines as a premiere
This makes the Philippines the first country with which Austria agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) “On the Recruitment of Qualified Professionals.” The MoU covers both the recruitment of skilled professionals and vocational training. At the same time, however, irregular migration is to be avoided.

“In this context, the first skilled labor agreement with the Philippines is another important step in the implementation of our comprehensive international skilled labor strategy,” said Minister of Labor and Economic Affairs Martin Kocher.

The establishment of MWO planned in Vienna
Within the framework of this MoU, the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) plans to establish its own Migrant Workers Office (MWO) in Vienna and to send a Labor Attaché. This person is to look after the Filipino skilled workers in Austria. In the Philippines, with around 115 million inhabitants who are predominantly young and well-educated, especially in health, IT and engineering, labour migration is considered the “Filipino way of life.” And Philippine authorities support the willingness of their compatriots to work abroad. At the same time, however, they pay attention to fair wages and working conditions, according to the release.

“Companies in Austria are facing a labour shortage. In the Philippines, the young, well-educated population is pushing into the international labour market,” Kopf said. “A win-win situation is created for both countries with the agreement. The high standard of education in the Philippines makes the country an ideal cooperation partner.”

The Austrian labour market has already been open to Filipino professionals; they have been admitted as skilled or key workers since 2011 via the Red-White-Red Card or the EU Blue Card. During the reform of the Red-White-Red Card, an Austrian delegation explored the possibilities for a recruitment campaign this year in April.

“Essential building block”
“Highly qualified professionals from around the world are an essential building block for growth and prosperity and an important location factor for the Austrian economy in the future,” said State Secretary Susanne Kraus-Winkler.

The plan is to bring around 400 Filipinas and Filipinos to Austria annually via the Red-White-Red Card by 2027. In the medium term, however, more Filipino professionals will be attracted to Austria.

Upper Austria’s Social Affairs Provincial Councillor Wolfgang Hattmannsdorfer (ÖVP) sees the recruitment campaign as an opportunity to fill the gap, especially in the nursing sector: “Upper Austria will thus succeed even better in the future in attracting graduated nursing staff as support, who are distinguished by an internationally high-quality education.”

Over 6,000 nationals from the Philippines are in Austria
This is not the first time that Austria has sought to attract Filipino professionals. From 1973 to 1985, about 400 Filipino nurses came to Austria under a program. Currently, about 6,300 nationals from the Philippines live in Austria. Of these, 5,114 were employed, and 61 were self-employed at the end of September.

  • source: APA/picture: imoney.ph
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