6,678 foreigners hired illegally in Pogos unaccounted for
MANILA, Philppines — More than 6,600 foreigners, mostly Chinese, who were found to be illegally employed by service providers of Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) can no longer be located in the country, according to an official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE.)
During the Senate’s deliberation on DOLE’s 2020 budget Tuesday, Bureau of Local Employment chief Dominique Tutay said that of the 8,371 foreigners they flagged for not possessing the necessary alien employment permit (AEP), only 1,693 worked on their documents and paid the total penalty of P20,000.
Tutay said that because they haven’t heard anything from the remaining 6,678 workers, they already asked the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to determine if they are still in the country and recommended to have them deported.
The problem, though, even the BI does not know of these foreigners’ whereabouts.
“When we checked with BI what happened [to these workers], they said they are having a hard time to locate the 6,000. Why would they have a hard time when it’s supposed to be in their database? If they enter the country, they’re supposed to be in the database [of BI],” Tutay told reporters.
For a foreigner to legally work in the country, he must secure an AEP from DOLE, which is valid for a year. The AEP is issued to a foreigner only if there is no Filipino competent enough or willing to do the job being offered to him.
In the first half of the year, the DOLE had already issued 51,696 AEPs.
Currently, Tutay said there were 83,999 workers employed by Pogos. Of the 70,113 foreign Pogo workers, 61,878 are Chinese nationals.
Tutay noted that even if a Pogo worker had been found to be illegally working in the country, they were still given a chance to make their employment legal under the government’s existing policy on foreign workers.
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