Philippines to Tighten Rules for Foreigners Amid Chinese Influx

Filipino linemen perform routine maintenance tasks on an electric pole at an intersection in the financial district of Makati City, Philippines. (Photo: Getty Images)

By Andreo Calonzo

The Philippines will tighten rules for foreign workers as more Chinese nationals enter the Southeast Asian nation to take up jobs.

Along with a permit from the Labor Department, foreign workers will now also need a working visa and a tax number, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement Tuesday. Agencies agreed to the new requirements at a meeting with Duterte on Monday night, Panelo said.

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 when Duterte assumed the presidency and fostered friendlier ties with Beijing.

The tighter rules will be imposed despite Duterte’s directive last year to go easy on illegal Chinese workers as Filipinos also work abroad without proper permits. The Finance Department is also targeting Chinese workers in the Philippine online gaming industry in an effort to secure an estimated 22 billion pesos ($423 million) in uncollected taxes.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P