Philippines to tighten foreign worker rules

The Philippines plans to impose further restrictions on foreign migrants as Chinese workers flood into the country, mainly to take up jobs in the online gambling industry.

According to Bloomberg, migrant workers will now need a working visa and a tax number, together with a permit from the Labour Department.

The news agency cited President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo as saying all agencies had agreed to the new requirements at a meeting on Monday night.

More than half of the 45,000 work permits issued by the Labor Department in 2017 were given to Chinese nationals, according to the agency’s latest available data. The number of Chinese workers who secured permits doubled in 2016 to 18,000.

The online gaming industry in the Philippines is thriving, generating PHP3.9 billion ($74.8 million) for the government last year from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator licenses. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. expects that number to double in 2019, however, there are concerns that the workers are not paying the correct taxes.