Influx of Chinese prompts tough new rules on foreign workers

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foreign workers

An influx of Chinese workers has prompted the Bureau of Immigration to tighten the rules governing foreign workers in the country.

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Immigration Chief Jaime Morente said today (Wednesday, May 1) that the tough new regime comes amid reports that the number of foreigners — particularly Chinese — working in the Philippines is on the rise.

Mr Morente linked the increase in the number of foreign nationals working in the country to emerging industries in the Philippines such as online gaming.

“Issues and challenges only appear now. This has never been a problem in the past because of the relatively smaller number of foreign nationals working in the Philippines then,” he said.

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According to Mr Morente, a joint guideline has already been signed between the Department of Justice, Department of Labor and Employment, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Bureau of Immigration.

Mr Morente added that previous regulations “did not have any restrictions” apart from the duration of a foreigner’s stay in the country, a system that was “prone to abuse”.

He also said that a special work permit allows a foreigner with a tourist status to work in the country for not more than six months, and does not bind him or her in an employer-employee arrangement. There is a separate working visa, called a 9(g) visa, with contracts usually lasting from one to three years.

A work permit allows a foreigner extended business activities within the prescribed period, but a visa binds a foreigner as an employee of a company in the Philippines, Mr Morente said.

Aside from the updated work permit rules, Mr Morente said concerned agencies would now require proof of tax payment among foreigners applying for visas and work permits.

“It’s really about government agencies working together to harmonise rules and procedures,” he said. “It’s high time we put our heads together to ensure that the government gets what it is due.”

Last month, we reported on another tightening of visa rules for foreign workers, with the rule that applications had to be made from the worker’s home country.

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