Philippine Labor Attaché Jalilo dela Torre has asked for more consultations among Filipino communities before the implementation of a new rule regarding pre-employment health checks for Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Attaché dela Torre had sent out an advisory to employment agencies and migrant leaders on Tuesday, saying the mandatory check-up would cover all Filipino household workers, whether they were new arrivals, existing workers renewing their contracts or workers moving to a new employer, sunwebhk.com reported.

Under the new regulations, as well as producing a “fit to work” certificate, all workers should also show proof that they have medical insurance coverage.

The advisory also said the basic pre-employment check-up covers “physical examination, chest x-ray, stool exam, urine exam and blood test (complete blood count, hepatitis B, sugar, cholesterol, triglyceride, uric acid, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine).”

The move came after worrying results in the free HealthWise medical examinations his office has offered to all Filipino workers in Hong Kong since November last year.

Originally dela Torre had set the starting date for implementing the new rule as February 15.

However, he decided delay it until further consultations have taken place due to concerns raised by affected parties, especially leaders of migrant workers’ organisations.

Eman Villanueva of Unifil-Migrante Hong Kong said the “fit to work” requirement in the original plan could lead to many longtime domestic workers losing their jobs if their employers were concerned about any abnormal readings in their medical tests.

He also expressed the fear that employment agencies would use this as a way to make extra money from either the worker or the employer.

According to dela Torre, he has met separately with employment agency representatives and they agreed that the advisory needed some “fine-tuning”.

The labour attaché will meet with migrant groups’ leaders on Sunday.

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