The Philippine Embassy in Poland has urged the government to suspend the deployment of Filipino truck drivers to Europe due to reports of exploitation in the transport sector.

In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it wanted to remind Filipinos seeking employment in Poland that they should only go with licensed recruitment agencies with approved job orders from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency.

Last year, 22 Filipino truck drivers were found living in “slum-like” conditions in container vans in Padborg, Denmark. Forty other foreign truck drivers in Germany and Poland were also found to be living in poor lodgings.

“In view of the issues concerning the working condition of Filipinos who worked as trailer truck drivers in Europe, the embassy is maintaining its recommendation for the suspension of deployment of Filipinos for work in the road transport sector,” the DFA said.

Maria Alnee Gamble, the chargè d’affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Warsaw, said Filipinos should ensure that they have a valid work permit, a work visa and a written employment contract before leaving the Philippines. “Filipino jobseekers should only deal with recruitment agencies who practice ethical recruitment and keep the welfare of Filipino workers in mind,” Gamble said.

The Embassy reminded Filipinos bound for Poland that their work permit was only good for work with the employer indicated on their permit and to be mindful of their obligations to their employers. “Poland usually provides foreigners coming from outside the European Union with temporary residence for up to three years depending on the length of their employment contract and work permit,” it said.