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Placement agencies in the Philippines: What went before?

The missing context: Placement agencies
1. Why do private recruitment agencies dominate the labour migration market in the Philippines?
In the early 1970s, the New Labor Code stated specifically that no private recruitment agencies shall be allowed to operate and send workers overseas.
2. What does the law state?
'No new application for a license to operate shall be entertained. The Department of Labor shall, within 4 years from the effectivity of this code, phase out the
operation of all private fee charging employment agencies.'
                                                                 - New Labor Code 1974
3. Did the private sector oppose
the law?
It was strongly opposed by the private sector. By 1978, placements had risen by 150% forcing the Government to allow private recruitment firms to operate. Between 1975 to 1982, around 600,000 workers were deployed by the private sector.
4. When did the agencies start collecting fees?
In the beginning, private agencies had no right to charge fees from the workers. But the passage of Omnibus Employment Bill made the fee collection permissible. In 1983, POEA formally allowed agencies to charge fees. The most recent POEA rule states that except for countries where placement fee is not required, workers should be subject to a maximum fee not exceeding one month's salary.


-The labour trade: Filipino migrant workers around the world (CIIR, 1987)
New Labor Code 1974

Anatomy of recruitment agencies

Infographic: The Anatomy of Recruitment Agencies in PH
                                                                                                                                              as of August 24, 2018

Download a PDF copy here.

The Philippine Government database contains a total of 3,686 recruitment agencies. Only 34% of these are licensed to operate.

Visualising the labour demand

Job Orders, Placement Agencies and the Filipino Workers


Number of accredited placement agencies in the Philippines with approved job orders from New Zealand


Number of (available) job orders approved by the Philippine Labor Office 

-as of August 2018


Total number of slots or positions when all job orders are combined.

-as of August 2018, excluding 'open' balance

Most common positions in New Zealand job orders 

word cloud nz jobs.png
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