By Samuel P. Medenilla, May 6 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business World

Over 83,000 foreign nationals (FN) employed in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) are expected to apply for new work permits starting this month, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

This after the DOLE together with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) finally released last week a new policy for Special Work Permits (SWP) issuance.

The joint guidelines restricted the SWP applications to 14 job occupations. The list of qualified job occupations did not include the Pogo sector.

In an interview, Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) Director Dominique R. Tutay said the issuance will not immediately make the valid SWPs issued by BI to foreigners in the Pogos immediately “deemed revoked.”

Instead, she said the SWP holders will be given a “transition” period to apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP).

Their failure to do so, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said, may result in their deportation.

“That is why they should immediately apply [for AEPs],” Bello said.

“We will be working with the other concerned agencies for this transition. And then each of the concerned agencies will be releasing their separate guidelines to further flesh out the [provisions] of the joint guidelines,” Tutay said.

A SWP is a document issued by the BI to foreigners, who will be working in the country for less than six months, while the AEP comes from the DOLE and are for foreign nationals, who will be locally employed for more than six months.

An AEP is harder to obtain than an SWP since its applicants would have to go through a “labor market test” wherein their names and position they are applying for are published by the DOLE.

AEP applicants will not be allowed to work in the country if it will be proven that local workers could do the job they are applying for.