THE Department of Labor and Employment has expressed alarm on the significant number of illegal foreign nationals working in the country noting it only issued Alien Employment Permits to 115,000 foreigners.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said alarm bells rang after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon claimed there are around 400,000 foreigners working in Metro Manila.
“DoLE is bothered by the report of increasing number of foreign workers in the country. Whether it is true or not, the only thing we are certain is that there are only around 115,000 foreign workers with Alien Employment Permit (AEP) issued by DoLE regional directors,” he said.
The labor chief said that DoLE is strengthening its AEP enforcement mechanism through inspections at workplace levels to check on the illegals, as well as validate the issuance of work permits to foreign workers.
“Maybe the other foreign nationals working might not have valid alien permits. DOLE checks on the illegals and further validates the issuance of AEPs to the foreign workers, to check the nature of their work, particularly if the field of expertise can be done by a Filipino,” he said.
Bello also clarified that DoLE is not the only permit-issuing agency that allows foreign nationals to work in the country.
Other agencies that issue working permits to foreign workers include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for geoscience and mining industry; the Professional Regulation Commission for the practice of regulated professions; the Department of Justice for nationalized or partially nationalized industries; and the Bureau of Immigration, for the pre-arranged employment visa or 9G.
Based on the latest data of the Bureau of Local Employment, there are 115,652 foreign nationals that were issued with AEP, of which 51,980 are Chinese, 12, 177 Japanese and 11,780 Korean for a three-year period from 2015 to 2017.