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Immigration may lose authority to issue work permit to foreigners

The Department of Labor and Employment is considering withdrawing the authority granted to the Bureau of Immigration to issue special work permits to aliens following reports of abuse and a rise in the number of illegal foreign workers.

READ: 69 illegal aliens nabbed in Clark

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the department would coordinate with the Department of Justice, which oversees the bureau.

Bello issued the statement after lawmakers pressed the government to crack down on hundreds of thousands of illegal foreign workers, saying they were taking jobs from Filipinos and possibly threatening national security.

The issuance of SWPs is an avenue for corruption.

The Bureau of Immigration has issued at least 200,000, mostly to Chinese nationals, while the DOLE has issued at least 160,000 alien employment permits.

The Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, which is under the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is also issuing working visas to foreigners.

With SWPs, a foreign worker is allowed to work in the country for three months and is allowed to apply for a three-month extension.

The DOLE, on the other hand, issues special working permits for short durations, for foreign workers such as singers who come here for a two- to three-day performance.

But the DOLE said that some agencies were issuing SWPs to foreigners to work as sales personnel and even as construction workers.

READ: Aliens don’t enjoy same rights as Pinoys—Palace

Topics: Department of Labor and Employment , Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators , Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp , Silvestre Bello III , Department of Justice
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