The Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Wednesday, February 6, that the government will no longer issue work permits to foreign nationals who want to be employed as construction workers, cashiers, janitors and carpenters.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the bureau would tighten the requirements and procedures on the issuance of special and provisional work permits to foreigners in order to protect the interests of the country’s local workforce.
“These new rules are meant to protect the interest of local workers. As we have observed that in the past, foreigners may abuse their permits and take away jobs from our kababayans (countrymen),” Morente said as reported by The Philippine Star.
Professional work is also strictly regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to address the reported increase of foreign workers in the country. They strived “to ensure that work permits are issued only to aliens whose jobs could not be performed by Filipinos.”
Among the additional requirements for work applicants are — validity of their stay as tourists; address, existence, nature of the business and financial viability of petitioning company, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registration and other government licenses to operate.
The new rules will be applied to both provisional work permit (PWP) and special work permit (SWP) holders. According to Rappler, a PWP consist of an alien employment permit (AEP) and a pending work visa, while SWP is for tourist visa holders employed for six months or less.
In line with the new set of regulations, only authorized immigration officers at the main office and alien control officers in the bureau’s field offices may approve or disapprove applicants for special (SWP) and provisional work permits (PWP).
On the same day, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced that with the help of Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), they will implement a national voluntary regularization for over 200,000 workers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III announced that both the labor department and the ECOP was scheduled to sign on Friday, February 8, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to enforce the national voluntary regularization program.
“This will cover workers in more than 3,200 establishments, mostly ECOP members. As a start, between 30 to 40 percent of the workers of the pre-identified establishments will benefit from the plan this year alone” Bello said as he emphasized that the program will commence with this month.
Ideally, ECOP member companies are expected to have fully regularized all their estimated 220,000 workers within the next three years.