Saturday, 12 April 2008

France awaits RP response on final immigration pact

The Manila Bulletin

France looks forward to the Philippine government signing of a "final" immigration agreement with it within two months so its doors would be open to thousands of competent and talented Filipino workers, including nurses and information technology professionals.

French Ambassador Gérard Chesnel said his government is still awaiting the response of the Philippine authorities on the proposed agreement, which was espoused to address France’s labor market needs.

"We are waiting for the Philippine government (to act on the agreement). If they say we agree, we’re hoping that it will be signed in June or July, as soon as possible," Chesnel said.

The parties involved in the signing of the agreement are the French Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity, and Co-Development, and the Department of Labor (DoLE) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippines.

The French senior official said discussions are under way on the agreement but his country needs an answer from the Philippine government whether to pursue or not the immigration pact.

The French government already signed the letter of intent to sign the formal agreement this year.

"We still need an answer from the Philippine government," Chesnel said.

He expressed confidence that the immigration deal would be beneficial to both countries.

The Philippines is among the Asian countries qualified under the third category quota policy set by the Attali Commission. Countries in the third category are those with which France has "traditional links," including several Asian and African nations.

Chesnel said once the agreement is signed, he expects more Filipinos working in France. But, he was quick to add that their new policy is "not to make brain drain."

"If they find job in France, we will provide them visa and working permit. They will also come with their family, but after years of training, they need to go back to the Philippines," he said.

Under the new immigration system, the Filipino workers will leave 20 percent of their salary with either their employer or government and they will get it when they go home.

There is also certain condition under the new scheme that they have to use the money to create their own enterprise.

Needed in France are those engaged in electronics, IT professionals and nurses.

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