Philippines: Senator calls for review of laws on foreign workers

  • Senator Joel J. Villanueva sees the need to amend the Labour Code of the Philippines and the Philippine Immigration Act to improve government’s regulations on foreign nationals working in the country amid the issues surrounding illegal foreign workers in the Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs).
  • The senator also noted that proposed measures have been filed in the Senate, such as Senate Bill No. 1425 mandating foreign nationals to have a Filipino understudy to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology and Senate Bill No. 1508 requiring employers to have at least 80% of the collective work force as Filipinos.
  • Both bills, which remain pending in the committee level, seek to amend the Labor Code of the Philippines.
  • Asked if these measures would be pursued in the 17th Congress given its limited time, Mr. Villanueva said, “We are still hoping that these measures will be acted upon before the 17th Congress ends. But if that is not possible, we will surely refile these measures in the next Congress.”
  • Mr. Villanueva also raised concerns by the Department of Finance’s (DoF) estimate that the government has been missing out PHP22bn in income taxes yearly due to unregistered foreign workers.
  • He assured that Senates will work closely with our Finance Department in crafting a legislation that will ensure that all foreign workers pay the correct amount of taxes.
  • Also on 27 Mar 19, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said it will soon require all government agencies and economic zones to issue special work permits to foreign workers.

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