THE government, through the Bureau of Immigration (BI), has tightened its rules on foreign workers in the Philippines, which is one of the world’s principal manpower exporters.
The government made the move following the increasing number of foreign nationals seeking work in this impoverished nation of more than 100 million English-speaking people.
The immigration bureau and three other state agencies signed what they called “joint guidelines” on the issuance of work and employment permits to foreign nationals in the country.
Aside from the BI, the Department of Justice (DoJ), Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) also signed the guidelines.
“The issues and challenges only appear now. This has never been a problem in the past because of the relatively small number of foreign nationals working in the Philippines then,” the bureau said.
The previous regulation in the issuance of special working permits (SWPs) did not have any restrictions.
BI said the old system was prone to abuse, hence we saw the need to tighten our regulations to ensure that jobs that can be done by Filipinos will not be given to foreigners.”
Last year, the BI issued a total of 83,760 SWPs, while the DoLE reported issuing 54,241 Alien Employment Permits (AEPs), which is the primary requirement for securing the 9(g) visa.
A 9(g) visa is a working visa for aliens employed in the country, with contracts usually lasting for one to three years, while a permit would allow a foreigner extended business activities here up to six months.
A visa, on the other hand, binds a foreigner as an employee by a company in the Philippines.
In the view of many, the tightening of rules on foreign workers is a move in the right direction which we applaud.