Philippines to tighten rules for foreigners as more Chinese pour in

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement that foreign workers will now also need a working visa and a tax number along with a permit from the Labour Department.
President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement that foreign workers will now also need a working visa and a tax number along with a permit from the Labour Department.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) - The Philippines will tighten rules for foreign workers as more Chinese nationals enter the South-east Asian nation to take up jobs.

Along with a permit from the Labour 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 on Tuesday (June 11). Agencies agreed to the new requirements at a meeting with Mr Duterte on Monday night, Mr Panelo said.

More than half of the 45,000 work permits issued by the Labour 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 Mr Duterte assumed the presidency and fostered friendlier ties with Beijing.

The tighter rules will be imposed despite Mr 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 (S$580 million) in uncollected taxes.