Young Filipino tourists in the age bracket 18 to 30 could soon work legally in New Zealand for 12 months under a working holiday agreement which the Philippines and New Zealand governments signed on Tuesday.
The bilateral deal, one of the agreements inked between Wellington and Manila, is reciprocal. Young Kiwis who will visit the Philippines as tourists could also work in the Asian country legally for 12 months.
However, the condition is that the maximum period they could work for a given employer or study is three months. The working holiday scheme is similar to other deals that New Zealand has signed with 36 other nations.
The deal is a boost for Filipinos, who often illegally leave the country disguised as tourists but often look for work overseas in a bid to move out of poverty. Because of the lure of foreign employment, an estimated 10 million Filipinos are employed overseas as contract workers or have permanently migrated to other nations such as the U.S, Canada, Australia, Japan and Italy.
English-speaking nations are the preference of Filipino workers, but in New Zealand, Filipinos are estimated to be around 35,000 only.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key signed the three agreements. The two other deals are over geothermal energy cooperation and defense cooperation.
Mr Key also offered $5 million assistance for the development of the Philippine dairy industry in the next five years. About 99 per cent of the Philippine dairy consumption is imported, and the country is the fourth largest dairy export market of New Zealand.
Next on Mr Aquino's stop is Canberra, Australia.