By Samuel P. Medenilla, September 5 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business World

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Wednesday it expected to earn more than P200 million this year from its issuance of work permits for foreign nationals (FN).

During budget deliberations at the House of Representatives, labor officials said DOLE was able to generate P166 million from fees imposed on applicants for Alien Employment Permits (AEP) from January to July.

The process fee for AEP is P9,000.

“We expect it will be higher than last year because we got more applications. We noticed a spike in the AEP applications from those who previously have an SWP [Special Work Permit],” Labor Assistant Secretary Benjo Benavidez told the BusinessMirror in an ambush interview.

In August, the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) confirmed it already had 52,450 AEP applications for the first half of the year, a number nearly approximating the 54,251 AEP applications for 2018.

In 2017, DOLE revenues from AEP were only at P190 million. This ballooned to P224 million last year.

An AEP is issued by DOLE to FNs who will be working in the country for more than six months, while an SWP is issued by the Bureau of Immigration to FNs who will be employed locally for less than six months.

Earlier this year, the government issued an interagency order, mandating FNs employed from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) to get AEPs instead of SWPs.

DOLE said that of the currently over 80,000 Pogo workers, at least 70,000 are FNs.