House urged: Pass bill on stiffer penalties on illegal foreign workers

House urged: Pass bill on stiffer penalties on illegal foreign workers

/ 05:59 PM June 11, 2024

illegal foreign workers pogo

SENT HOME  This mass deportation involved Chinese nationals who were arrested in a raid on a Pasay City-based Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) hub in October. They were found to have no working permits and engaged in “online scams.” Photo shows them lining up for pre-departure procedures at Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. —NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

MANILA, Philippines — Bicol Saro party-list Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan has appealed to his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass a bill that seeks to impose stiffer penalties on illegal foreign workers in the country.

Yamsuan on Tuesday said that House Bill (HB) No. 1279 seeks to amend Presidential Decree No. 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines, particularly sections concerning foreign nationals working in the country.


The bill was filed last July 5, 2022, by Yamsuan, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte, Camarines Sur 5th District Rep. Miguel Luis Villafuerte, and Camarines Sur 1st District Rep. Tsuyoshi Horibata.  However, it is still pending with the House committee on rules.


“We certainly welcome foreign nationals in our country if they have valid employment permits (EPs) and if they do not compete with our equally, and at most times better, skilled workforce,” Yamsuan said in a statement.

“But we should draw the line when it comes to foreigners who not only work here illegally, but also pose a threat to the peace and order in our communities,” he added.

Yamsuan said the current fine — P10,000 for foreigners found guilty of working illegally — is too low.  According to the lawmaker, several foreign individuals have abused loose regulations, including the proliferation of foreigners working illegally for Philippine offshore gaming operations (Pogos).

READ: Pampanga Pogo linked to scams, trafficking; 186 rescued in raid

Yamsuan was referring to the Senate investigations looking into Pogo operations where authorities have rescued workers suspected of being illegally trafficked into the country.

READ: Who’s behind Pogo hub in Pampanga? Lapid calls for Senate probe


If the bill is enacted, illegal foreign workers can face a fine of imprisonment up to six years and a P50,000 fine for every year of unlawful employment.

Aside from this, the proposed measure for non-resident foreign nationals who have secured employment permits but chose to transfer to another job or employer without notice to, and approval of, the Labor Secretary, will be penalized with a fine ranging from P50,000 to P100,000.

Employers or any of his or her authorized representatives found to have hired non-resident foreign nationals illegally meanwhile will have to pay a fine of P100,000 to P200,000.

“In all cases, the fines imposed herein shall be without prejudice to other administrative, civil or criminal liability that may incur by reason of such act or omission,” Yamsuan and the other lawmakers’ bill stated.

READ: Salceda says Pagcor is modernizing policies, enforcing rules on Pogo 

There have been proposals to ban Pogos because of the sheer number of foreign nationals illegally employed in gaming operations raided by authorities.  But earlier, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said that only 8,500 Pogo workers right now are Chinese individuals, noting that 65,000 of 100,000 indirect hires are Filipino citizens.

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TAGS: Chinese illegal workers, pogo, Yamsuan

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