Author Archives: MFA

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Philippine Jurisprudence on Overseas Employment, 1995-2015 book now available

LBB PHILIPPINES is pleased to share with you its second publication “PHILIPPINE JURISPRUDENCE ON OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT(1995-2015).”

Following the successful completion and publication of our first compilation, “Selected Philippine Laws, Rules and Regulations on Overseas Employment”, we thought that it is essential to have a companion book in the form of an annotated topical index of cases on migrant worker related issues decided by the Philippine Supreme Court. We scoped almost 500 cases from 1995 to 2015, which are milestone years for migrants’ rights – 1995 was the year when Republic Act No. 8042 or the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995 was enacted by Congress following the public outcry over the execution of Filipino domestic worker Flor Contemplacion in Singapore; 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families under UN Resolution No. 45/158; and 2015 likewise marked the 20th anniversary of the ratification of this Convention by the Philippine Senate. 


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Lawyers Beyond Borders Conducts National Consultation in Lebanon

Migrant Forum in Asia together with Caritas Lebanon Migrants Center organized the Lawyers Beyond Borders national consultation in Lebanon on March 13, 2016 at Padova Hotel bringing lawyers and advocates to talk about who are working on labour and human rights violation cases of migrant workers in the country. Lawyers joining the “local chapter” in Lebanon identify major and common areas of concern on the situations of migrant workers and collaborate with migrant support groups / civil society in Lebanon and with stakeholders in the countries of destination should they require support in understanding and applying legal policies. The meeting’s objectives include:

  • Discuss issues of migration, human rights and access to justice for migrant workers
  • Sharing of experiences among the lawyers and legal aid practitioners in Lebanon in terms of improving access to justice for migrant workers in the country.
  • Identify a common platform among lawyers in Lebanon that can mobilize actions to integrate migrants’ rights issues in their work and enhance the promotion and protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families in the country.

Noha Roukoss from CLMC talked about the Local labour policies and regulation, its mechanisms an challenges in Lebanon. An expert from the International Labour Organization Ms. Zeina Mezher, National coordinator of the labour migration programme discussed the implementation of ILO Labour Standards in the context of Lebanon. Atty. Henry Rojas, LBB Regional Coordinator, also discussed the process of cross border litigation in the context of a country of origin.

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Packed detention centres due to delay in deporting illegals, deputy home minister says

1 March 2016, The Malay Mail Online

The nationwide crackdown against illegal immigrants enters its twelfth day today, with over 30,000 screened and 9,900 rounded up since February 19.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said while the daily operations, dubbed Ops Hari Hari, are yielding results, the delay in deporting them has resulted in congestion at the 14 detention centres across the country.

The matter  was  highlighted by Immigration director-general Datuk Sakib Kusmi who suggested the expansion of current detention centres with more holding centres to be built immediately.

In an exclusive interview with Malay Mail recently, Nur Jazlan said the government had stopped funding the deportation of illegal foreigners since 2014, resulting in the overcrowded centres.

“The detainees will now have to fork out their own money, either through their embassies or families. This is the main reason for the delay,” he said.

“Prior to 2014, the government had set aside a budget for the deportation of illegal foreigners and the process was faster.”

The overcrowding has forced the Penang Immigration Department to search for new detention centres in Terengganu. The centre in Juru is now full with 500 detainees while the centres in Belantik, Kedah and Langkap in Perak — with maximum capacities of 1,050 and 1,000 respectively — are now overcrowded with 1,158 and 1,500 detainees respectively.

Penang immigration deputy director P. Selva said yesterday the department was forced to send detainees to Ajil in Terengganu. He said there was a need to identify other areas in the state that could house detainees. There are 900 foreigners in Ajil.

The Pulai MP said employers, especially from the construction sector, were the main culprits bringing workers from abroad but failing to safeguard their welfare, which forced them to find jobs elsewhere.


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How changes to the UAE labour laws will affect you

29 February 2016, The National

UAE residents and employers are familiar with adapting to changing rules and regulations. So it was no surprise the new year brought with it three decrees from the Ministry of Labour (MoL) now in place for those employed outside of free zones.

The decrees – “standard work contract”, “terminating work contract” and “granting a new work permit” – are designed to enhance transparency and encourage more flexibility within the labour market.

Shedding some light on the changes is Murtaza Khan, a partner in the immigration service provider Fragomen Worldwide, responsible for the provision of outsourced corporate migration solutions throughout the Middle East and Africa.

What are the major changes of the new UAE labour regulations?

Some larger companies may have Tas’heel (centres offering MoL services) access on-site, but the majority will have their authorised representative visit a Tas’heel Service Centre, where a standardised offer letter must now be prepared through the MoL’s electronic system. The offer letter is created along with an annex that summarises the most important aspects of the UAE labour law, covering rights and obligations of the employer and employee. Both documents must then be signed by both parties, before being taken back to Tas’heel for the work permit application.

In addition to the offer letter, a new version of the standardised employment contract has been introduced and it is again accompanied by an annex, similar to the one supporting the offer letter. The employment contract should be printed from the MoL’s system and then signed by both parties.

What happens next?

The contract must be submitted to the MoL within 14 days of the worker’s arrival in the UAE based on the employment entry permit, or from the date of the status change. The employment contract must be in accordance with the conditions that had been presented to the candidate within the offer letter. A similar process applies with renewals, as employers and employees are now expected to agree mutually on the terms through the renewal of the employment contract, including a similar annex and signatures of both parties.

What happens if you change employers?

Individuals will now be able to secure new work permits if they have completed six months (instead of two years) with their previous employer and there is no issue raised by either party. There is further flexibility for holders of “unlimited term” contracts who are now allowed to obtain a new work permit even if it is an employee-initiated termination, so long as the employee has completed six months’ service and completed their notice period as agreed.

In addition, the requirement to complete six months is waived if individuals belong to a position in category 1, 2 or 3 of the MoL’s skills classification system. These distinctions are published by the MoL in detail on its website and individuals are advised to consult these or seek appropriate employment counsel to ensure this is correctly applied to their particular situation.

Can people still receive bans?

There is now expected to be far greater flexibility for changing jobs in the UAE by eliminating the automatic six months’ employment ban that was applicable for certain categories of workers. The ban is now expected to apply in far fewer instances and, in general, if one has mutual agreement upon termination of a contract and has completed six months with their previous employer, the ban should not apply to them.


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LBB PH Book Launch Held Successful

As we celebrate today the 25th Anniversary of the UN’s International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families, the LBB Phil, by way of expressing its support to and solidarity with all the migrant workers, launched its first Book, a compendium of Selected Philippine Laws, Rules and Regulations on Overseas Employment on 16 December 2015, in Quezon City, Philippines. 

The book launch was attended by the members of the LBB Philippines, Selected government participants, CSO representatives and other stakeholders. The book is intended for the use of Lawyers and other advocates in addressing access to justice for Filipino migrant workers.


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Lawyers Beyond Borders Philippines is inviting everyone to the book launch on “Selected Philippine laws, rules and regulations on overseas employment.” The book launch will be held on December 16, 2015 at Function Room, Amenities Floor, Symphony Tower 1, Sgt. Esguerra St., Timog, Quezon City, Philippines. The book contains compilation of existing laws, rules and regulation on overseas employment intended to be a handy reference material that may be used by legal practitioners, paralegal workers and NGOs providing legal assistance to migrant workers.

If interested to attend the book launch, please send an email to and for reservation.

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MFA, MBC Holds 3rd Lawyers Beyond Borders Meeting in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Organized by Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) and the Malaysian Bar Council (MBC) with support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), the 3rd Regional Conference of the Lawyers Beyond Borders Network was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 14-15 November 2015. The meeting concentrated on progress, updates, and information sessions from its local chapters (Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh) as well as from its individual participants-the meeting concentrated on Gulf Countries (dominantly as countries of destination). There were 45 participants in total from 19 countries across the regions of Asia.

A number of the sessions were dedicated for promising practices, litigation interests, and access to justice, sharing of experiences, passport confiscation and recruitment reform. The last session was purposed to discuss the next steps and action plans for the future LBB meeting and projects as a network where the participants discussed the possibility and need for an advisory council as well as membership and the processes and requirements of accepting future members.

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Date Confirmed for the 3rd Lawyers Beyond Borders Conference

Category : Activities

The 3rd Conference of the Lawyers Beyond Borders  (LBB) Network is scheduled on 14-15 November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The conference will be held at the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel. This year’s meeting will focus on the following key objectives:

  • Review progress on the action plan from the previous Lawyers Beyond Borders Conference
  • Acceleration and facilitation of access to justice for Migrant Workers and members of its families
  • Continue outreach to other constituencies and stakeholders (parliamentarians, grassroots communities, government ministries, etc.)

For more details, please contact Migrant Forum in Asia at

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Launching of LBB Bangladesh


The launching of the LBB Bangladesh was held on July 4, 2015 in Bangladesh. This one-day workshop was centered around capacity building aimed to convened workers and practitioners on labor and human rights violation cases of Bangladeshi migrant workers.

Dr. Chowdhury Abrar, Executive Director, Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit presented reports that delved on two main topics: “International Human Rights Instruments Relevant to MW’s and their families” & “Labour Migration Governance in Bangladesh: Gaps and Challenges”. The chief technical advisor of ILO, Nisha, discussed International Labor Standards and Migrant Workers and the trends regarding these two components. She summarized how government has dual responsibility in securing migration and integration processes in the social economy.

Mr. Abdullah Al Hasan, Director-Program of the Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA)/ LBB-Bangladesh gave a presentation on Governance of the State on International Labor Migration and the Nexus with Trafficking. He stated that there are gaps in legislation in Bangladesh as well as a lack of a monitoring mechanism.

Two speakers from countries of destination, Qatar and Malaysia, attended the program. Nizar Kochery, Founder and Lead International Consultant Kocheries Legal Consultants LLP presented on the legal environment in Qatar for migrant workers, including how this affects them. Mr. Dato’ M. Ramachelvam, Chairperson, Migrants, Refugees & Immigration Affairs Committee Malaysian Bar Council discussed about the policies and laws that affect migrants in Malaysia including the constitution of Malaysia as well as trade union policies.


CLICK HERE FOR : Workshop Report, LBBBC

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Launch of LBB Sri Lanka

LBB Sri Lanka’s first meeting and launching was held on July 20, 2015 in Colombi, Sri Lanka attended by 22 lawyers who practice in different courts from Colombo and provinces in Sri Lanka. The launch was organized by the MFA and local LBB member, Lawyers Network for Migrant Workers.

The report by the Sri Lanka chapter of the LBB relays some of the difficulties Sri Lankan workers face as migrant employees. Participating and being part of the LBB, the speakers’ forward notable topics as indicated below. Bradford Smith Secretary of the UN Committee on Migrants Workers discussed the treaties and conventions that are necessary for understanding guidance for lawyers working in migration. Migration Expert and ILO Consultant Piyasiri Wickramasekara highlighted the work of the Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) as an implementing arm of the labor migration process of the country. Lastly, Dr. Nizar Kotchery, Lead Consultant and Founder Kochery & Partners LLP Qatar discussed employment laws of Qatar as well as some recommendations how the LBB can further promote the rights of MW’s.


At the end of the program LBB Sri Lanka members put forward a program of action for the national chapter, which includes the following:

  • Look at the Philippine System of migration and try to adopt in Sri Lanka.
  • To adopt writing contracts on vernacular (Sinhala and Tamil) of a migrant worker.
  • Organize a steering committee to strengthen the Sri Lankan LBB chapter. To engage their government to promote Oversees absentee voting.
  • To examine others countries’ mandates for comparison. To endorse problems discussed during the session to the government.
  • To call for ratification of ILO 189.
  • To set-up a legal clinic for migrants workers.
  • Set-up help desks for destination countries in the Middle East to push for Saudi Arabia Law for Domestic Helpers.
  • For the LBB south Asian chapter to come together and discuss pertinent issues on migration and how lawyers may address them.

LBB Sri Lanka Meeting – July 20, 2015 Report