The government is planning to require foreigners wanting to work in the Philippines to secure their visas before arriving in the country.
According to Department of Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III, the measure was discussed during a recent inter-agency meeting with the Department of Justice, Bureau of Immigration, Department of Finance and Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Under the policy, people who want to seek employment in the country will have to secure working visas from the Philippine embassy in their home countries.
“When you come here, you must come here to work. And for that purpose, you must have a working visa from your place of origin. For example, if you are a Chinese, you get from our Consular Office a working visa. If you are Japanese, you also get from our Consular Office in Japan,” Bello said in an interview today (Thursday, March 7).
He also said that the proposal aims to improve the screening of foreigners looking to work in the Philippines.
“We need to be certain that the work they will do here cannot be done by a Filipino. This way, we can already control the entry of foreign workers,” he said.
Malaysian PM warns on Chinese workers
Also today, visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad warned the Philippines against letting in foreign workers who could “disturb the political equations”.
At least 200,000 Chinese have flocked to Manila since Duterte’s 2016 election, many of them employed by online gaming firms that cater to Chinese players, a Philippine Senate inquiry was told last year.
This has led some Filipino politicians to warn that this drives up property prices, takes jobs from locals and even affects tax revenues.
Mahathir, who has suspended several of his nation’s major projects with China, warned against allowing a surge of foreigners.
“Foreign direct investment should not involve bringing huge numbers of foreigners to live in the country because that might disturb the political equations in the country,” he said.
“If huge numbers of any foreigners come to live and stay in the country or to even influence the economy of a country, then you have to do some rethinking as to whether it is good or bad, or the limits that you have to impose on them.”
However, last month President Duterte said Chinese workers should be allowed to stay in the country as Beijing also hosted hundreds of thousands of Filipinos. Most of them are domestic workers in Hong Kong.
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