The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the country’s biggest labor group, criticized the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for coming out with new but ‘incomplete’ rules on work permits which it claimed is subject to corruption.
“The so-called new rules on work and special work permits issued by the Bureau of Immigration to prospective foreign workers are incomplete and very vulnerable to bribery and corruption. It looks like the list identified just a few jobs when the rules says there are more. We are urging the bureau to consult with labor groups, with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE, Professional Regulation Commission and the Department of Trade and Industry. It is very important that BI list should be complete and shown in public,” TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente announced last week that the bureau is imposing a stricter requirements and procedures in issuing special work permits (SWP) and provisional work permits (PWP) to foreigners intending to work in the country.
Under the new rules, the Bureau will now require foreign applicants to submit additional documents before they are issued work permits.
Morente also said that the BI will see to it that no work permit will be issued to aliens who will be employed as construction workers, cashiers, janitors, carpenters, and other blue-collar jobs.
“There are more type of jobs that cannot be given to foreign workers. And as far as we know, the rule is that as long as there are Filipino skills and professions are available domestically, those jobs cannot be to foreign workers,” Mendoza said.
Professions classified as regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) will also not be allowed without the approval of the PRC. Aside from the BI and PRC, the DOLE also issued work permits to foreign workers through its Alien Employment Permit (AEP).
Morente said that the new rules were issued to address the reported increase in the number of foreigners employed in the country to the alleged detriment of Filipino workers.
Among the requirements that work permit applicants will submit are: validity of stay as tourists; address, existence, nature of business, and financial viability of petitioning company; and SEC and other governnent licenses to operate. Only authorized BI officers at the main office and alien control officers in the bureau’s field offices may approve or disapprove applicants for SWP and PWP.
“With different government agencies issues their own work permits with their own separate list of jobs that cannot be given to foreign workers, this system is rife for corruption and accountability problem. We think it’s high time to come up with one common list of jobs that cannot be given to foreign workers to be shared by all government agencies and used as common reference list,” Mendoza said.