The Senate has ratified the bicameral conference committee report on a bill seeking to exempt fresh graduates and out-of-school youth from paying government fees and charges on documents needed for their job application.

Approved by the Senate was the reconciled version of Senate Bill No. 1629 and House of Representatives Bill No. 172, or the “First-Time Jobseekers Assistance Act”.

Senator Joel Villanueva, author and sponsor of the measure, said the immediate passage of the bill into law would greatly ease the financial burden of first-time jobseekers in acquiring relevant government documents.

Villanueva said the bill aims to address the uncertainty being faced by fresh graduates on their school-to-work transition, and to shoulder the cost of fees and charges in obtaining government documents.

“The immediate passage of the bill into law would greatly ease the financial burden of first-time jobseekers in acquiring relevant government documents.”

First-time jobseekers include fresh graduates, students who have taken leaves of absence and out-of-school youth.

As proof that they are first-time jobseekers, the seasoned legislator said applicants would be required to submit a duly sworn affidavit, stating that he is either a new graduate, an early school leaver, a student taking a leave of absence, he or she is working part-time, or he or she is not engaged in education or employment.

Some of the pre-employment documents a fresh graduate needs include a police clearance certificate; NBI clearance; barangay clearance; medical certificate; birth and/or marriage certificate; a Tax Identification Number; and other documentary requirements issued by the government that may be required by employers for first-time jobseekers.

The veteran lawmaker said fees and charges for these documents may cost first-time jobseekers some P2,000.

“Fees and charges for these documents may cost up to P2,000.”

Some 600,000 fresh graduates are annually expected to benefit from the proposed law.

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