29.8 C
Thursday, June 13, 2024

New bill proposes stiffer penalties vs illegal foreign workers

- Advertisement -

A newly filed bill in the Philippine House of Representatives aims to significantly increase penalties for illegal foreign workers and their employers. House Bill 1279, co-authored by Rep. Brian Raymund Yamsuan of the Bicol Saro party-list, proposes both stiffer fines and longer prison terms for violators.

The bill comes in response to recent arrests of foreign nationals involved in illegal activities. Last week, authorities detained 37 Chinese nationals for allegedly operating illegal retail and restaurant businesses in Parañaque City.

The incident highlights the growing concern over illegal employment and its impact on local communities.

Under HB 1279, illegal foreign workers could face up to six years in prison. The current fine of ₱10,000 would be increased to ₱50,000 for each year of unlawful employment. Employers hiring foreign workers without proper permits could be fined between ₱100,000 and ₱200,000.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) could also suspend or shut down businesses found in violation.

“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,” said Yamsuan.

“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,” the lawmaker added.

The bill also targets foreign workers who switch jobs without notifying the DOLE, proposing fines from ₱50,000 to ₱100,000 and potential imprisonment.

Further, HB 1279 mandates a “labor market test” to ensure that foreign employment permits are issued only when no qualified Filipinos are available for the job. The DOLE retains the authority to grant exemptions if the foreign worker possesses unique skills unavailable locally.

Another key provision requires foreign workers to transfer skills to Filipino understudies, promoting knowledge sharing and skill development among local workers. Non-compliance could lead to fines of at least ₱100,000 annually, along with potential non-renewal of work permits and employer blacklisting.

The bill also mandates a comprehensive registry of foreign nationals and requires employers to report detailed information about their foreign hires to the DOLE.

The proposed legislation, co-authored by Camarines Sur Reps. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, Miguel Luis Villafuerte, and Tsuyoshi Anthony Horibata, underscores a commitment to regulate foreign labor strictly and protect the interests of the local workforce.


Popular Articles