Hundreds of foreign nationals working without a proper visa were issued a deportation charge from the Bureau of Immigration in 2015.
Earlier this month, officials of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) targeted a call center located in Pasay City and arrested 155 foreign nationals. The reason: they were all working as call center agents and online gambling operators without a working visa. Most of these foreigners were Chinese nationals (perhaps this cannot be dissociated of the growing political tensions between both countries over the dispute of the South China sea) and after failing to present the required documentation, they were informed about their deportation from the Philippines.
If it was still necessary, this incident is a clear example of the strictness of the Bureau of Immigration against the presence of foreigners working illegally in the country. As the high economic growth of the Philippines is taking the spotlight of Southeast Asia, the subsequent increase of job opportunities is leading to the hiring of foreign nationals attracted to well-paid jobs in newly established companies.
But due to the length of the whole process, which includes filing of several application forms, queuing for hours and paying endless mandatory fees imposed by the different governmental agencies, many companies still prefer to take the risk of hiring foreign nationals holding just a tourist visa and ignore or postpone the need to secure a working visa. There is a high price for that.
A few months ago, a national campaign was launched by the BI urging Filipinos to report any foreigner who does not have legal immigration status. This is not more than a Reward and Incentive Program, granting approximately USD 45.00 per apprehension.
A simple text message to the BI can cause a big headache to companies that are not entirely compliant with the law. This is exactly what happened earlier this year when 73 foreign nationals from Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, the United States, Malaysia, China, and Taiwan were arrested for working without any work permit in a call center and online gambling operator. The incident was generated by a tip from an anonymous caller.
If your employees are not holding a proper working visa, search for our specialized Immigration Affairs Department. Our deep expertise and broad experience acquired through several years of working with the BI, will ensure that your company and employees are fully compliant.