DOLE: Chinese workers' visas could be cancelled if Filipinos can do their jobs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is looking into the Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) indiustry to determine which jobs could be given to Fiilipinos.

This came after several labor groups said POGO operators choose to employ Chinese nationals over Filipinos.

DOLE Undersecretary Ana Dione said on Sunday the department wants to know the kinds of jobs available at POGO companies to see which jobs could be offered to Filipinos.

"Titignan natin kung alin ba talaga dito ang hindi natin pwedeng ibigay, alin naman yung sa tingin natin ay wala pang Pilipino ang may kaya," she said

[Translation: We will see which of these jobs can't be given away, and which ones seem like no Filipino can be qualified for.]

Dione added most of those working in POGOS are customer service officers who speak Mandarin.

Should the DOLE find out that Filipinos can do these jobs, Dione said the work permits of some Chinese nationals could be cancelled so that they can be replaced by Filipinos.

"Sa tingin natin, kung mayroong Pilipino na kayang gawin talaga 'yon, then by all means, hindi natin papayagan 'yan," she said.

[Translation: If we see that a Filipino can do the job, then by all means, we will not allow it.]

A work permit does not guarantee that a foreign worker will hold on to a job indefinitely.

Dione said that as of May, the DOLE have found at least 8,000 Chinese nationals working in POGO companies without the necessary permits.

The DOLE has inspected 147 business establishments employing foreigners in Metro Manila since 2018.

"Karamihan doon ang hawak ay iyong tourist visa ang hawak nila, then they were given SWP (special work permit). Pero ngayon inalis na natin 'yan," said Dione.

[Translation: Most of them had tourist visas, then were given SWP. But we've disallowed that.]

READ: DOLE reviewing work permits given to foreigners to check if jobs were not snatched from Pinoys

Foreigners holding SWPs will have to get an alien employment permit (AEP).

An AEP is "a permit issued to a nonresident alien or foreign national seeking admission to the Philippines for employment purposes after a determination of the non-availability of Filipino citizen who is competent, able and willing at the time of application to perform the services for which the alien is desired."

Dione said the DOLE is coordinating with other government agencies that oversee foreign employment and POGO operations to apprehend illegal Chinese workers.

Meanwhile, a group of Chinese Filipino businessmen said the influx of Chinese nationals working in the country is not a threat to national security.

On Friday, Henry Lim Bon Liong, president of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry said the increasing number of Chinese workers in the county is a boost to the economy.

"I don’t think we should be worried about whatever they are talking about, Chinese invasion. Whatever. I don’t think that would be the case," he said.

CNN Philippines correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.