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Returning OFWs can be sent to Iraq under the POEA.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced on Thursday that returning Filipino employees, or Balik Manggagawa (BM) labourers, are now allowed to return to Iraq.

POEA Director Bernard Olalia said in a Laging Handa briefing that this happened after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) lowered Iraq from Alert Level 4 to 3.

“The reduction of the alert level in Iraq is a really welcome development,” Olalia said. “The POEA issued a resolution to inform fellow Filipinos that returning employees can return to Iraq.”

“They are the ones with active employment contracts who are traveling to the Philippines for vacation or who are here and will return to their employers in the Philippines,” he explained.

According to Olalia, the majority of OFWs hired in Iraq are skilled and professional workers.

“They work in multinational organizations, in entities that offer positions such as engineers, consultants, and a variety of other trained and vital individuals,” he explained.

Returning employees must, among other things, present their previous contracts.

“They must show that they have a contract in place.” They must also submit their respective employer’s certification or devise a strategy to assist them in the event of a difficulty. So, those are just a few of the paperwork that must be submitted in order for them to be able to return there,” Olalia explained.

On the other side, the POEA chief stated that Filipinos in Iraq have the opportunity to visit their relatives in the Philippines for a vacation, particularly during the holiday season.

“Those in Iraq can take a holiday in the Philippines this December because it’s Christmas season, and it’s time for us to give our longtime Iraqi compatriots an opportunity to visit their loved ones,” he said.

Due to certain improvements in the security situation in Iraq, the DFA decreased the alert level for the entire country from Alert Level 4 (mandatory repatriation) to Alert Level 3 (voluntary repatriation) earlier this month.

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