World economic crisis continues

Recession in the USA, cartoon

The economic crisis continues.

US unemployment rate hits 8.1 percent: here.

California’s new budget and the social crisis in San Diego: here.

Germany: Blackmail tactics against Opel workers: here.

Bank of England cuts interest rates, turns to “quantitative easing”: here.

European Crisis Summit : Divided They Stand: here.

Eric Toussaint interview: here.

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  1. Illegal Pinoys in Europe to be hit by EU policy

    By Michaela P. del Callar

    03/09/2009, Philippine Daily Tribune

    Filipino Overseas Workers who entered the foreign countries legally have been losing their jobs and are returning home to a bleak future, as the Philippine government also cannot provide jobs for the returning OFWs.

    But now, thousands more in Europe may be sent packing to the Philippines.

    Thousands of illegal Filipino migrants in Europe will be affected by the European Union’s new immigration policy that prohibits employers from hiring undocumented workers.

    Under the new legislation, which will be enforced in 2011, employers hiring illegal workers would face sanctions, including fines and paying back wages to their workers amounting to “at least the wage provided for by the applicable laws on minimum wages, collective agreements or practices in the relevant occupational branches.”

    Such employers could also be excluded from participation in public contracts, as well as from public benefits, aid and subsidies – including EU funding managed by member states – for up to five years.

    In some cases – such as repeated or conscious hiring of undocumented migrants, or hiring of children or victims of human trafficking – the employers would be punished under criminal law “by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties” that would be up to the member states to define.

    Those employers who subject migrant workers to “particularly exploitative working conditions” would also be punished under criminal law.

    The legislation, also known as Employer Sanction Directive, is part of an EU immigration measure to resolve its problem on overstaying aliens in Europe.

    Figures released by the EU showed that there are about 954,000 overseas Filipino workers in Europe, of whom 285,000 are permanent residents, 556,000 temporary residents and 113,000 are illegal workers. This figure represents 10.9 percent of all OFWs worldwide.

    Within EU, large concentrations of Filipinos are in the United Kingdom with 203,000, followed by Italy with 120,000 residents, 54,000 in Germany, some 47,000 in France and 41,000 in Spain. There are also about 20,000 Filipinos scattered in Austria, Greece and Norway.

    In previous interviews, EU officials in Manila said undocumented Filipino workers in EU states who will avail of voluntary deportation can still return to Europe, but warned that they will be imprisoned should they refuse to leave voluntarily and if they will attempt to escape to evade arrest.

    Las year, a compromise was reached between Parliament negotiators and the EU Council on the directive on the return of illegal immigrants was approved on first reading by the full Parliament.

    This legislation, which is a step toward a European immigration policy, will encourage the voluntary return of illegal immigrants but otherwise lay down minimum standards for their treatment.

    It states that any decision taken against an illegal migrant “will be subject to legal review, maximum periods of detention are established that normally lasts up to six months” and that free legal assistance will be available if desired.

    Illegal migrants, however, will be banned from entering the Europe for five years if they do not leave voluntarily or if they are expelled.

    But European Commission’s head of delegation to the Philippines Ambassador Alistair MacDonald assured that there will be no massive crackdown against illegal Filipino workers in Europe.

    He said the EU’s new immigration directive “does not in any sense call for the expulsion of illegal migrants, or any kind of crackdown.”

    “I am not aware of any intention on the part of member states to be more or less firm in their treatment of irregular OFWs,” MacDonald said.

    He explained that if illegal migrants are to be expelled, this will be done according to certain minimum standards and stressed that their civil rights will be respected.

    Regularization of an illegal migrant’s stay in Europe, on the other hand, is a matter to be determined and decided on by the host government and is “not affected by EU legislation,” he said.


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