FILIPINO airport construction worker Edguardo is 49 and has worked for a British contractor at Chek Lap Kok for three months. For all that time he has, effectively, been working for nothing. Every cent of what is left, after expenses, of Edguardo's $14,800 monthly wage goes straight into the pocket of the agent who brought him to the territory. The drain is bad news for his wife and children in Manila. The family's only bread-winner has had to delay plans to send regular financial help. 'I had to put our house up as collateral to finance the loan I needed to pay the agent's 'placement pay',' Edguardo said. 'Having to pay that loan and the interest on it means that I can send nothing back. 'It could take me six months before I am completely clear of interest payments.' The technician was among a group of 17 workers recruited by one of the many agencies operating in Manila and claims all his colleagues were forced to pay $15,000 to $25,000 to clear the way for them to work on the site. Some of the payments - known among workers and officials as 'placement' or 'processing' pay - amount to more than three times the monthly salary of a skilled worker in the Philippines. And $25,000 - or 75,000 Philippine pesos - is 15 times the legal maximum an agent can charge a worker under Philippine law. 'For all of us it is a simple case of 'no pay, no work',' said Edguardo. 'But we are in a difficult situation. Jobs are hard to come by in the Philippines and the salary we get here is much better.' But for his wife and daughter and his two boys at school, the separation from their father will not reap the rewards they had hoped.