The number of foreign workers issued with Alien Employment Permit (AEP) in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) industry has decreased this year, according to the Department of Labor and Employment Bureau of Local Employment (DOLE-BLE).
An AEP is one of the requirements for the issuance of a work visa to foreigners who intend to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines.It is issued only after it is ascertained that a foreign worker will be performing a job that local workers are not capable of doing.
The BLE report on the employment of foreign nationals in the country showed that only 62,196 AEPs were issued to foreign workers in POGO-related establishments as of Sept. 22, as compared to the 123,649 in 2019.
“This showed a substantial decrease of 49.69 percent or 61,453 AEPs compared to the total issuance in 2019,” read the report.
“(This is) due to the inbound travel restrictions of foreign nationals and limited operations of POGO-related establishments,” it further read.
Majority of those issued with AEPs were Chinese nationals at 55,371, followed by 1,986 Vietnamese, 1,130 Indonesians, 1,096 Malaysians, 963 Myanmaris, 706 Taiwanese, 327 Koreans, 168 Thais, 103 Indians, 57 Cambodians, and 135 other nationalities.
All POGO operations were suspended on March 21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a PAGCOR Memorandum dated May 1, however, partial resumption of POGO operations were allowed subject to safety protocols and several requirements to be completed prior to the grant of an Authority to Resume Operations.
On May 20, the DoLE also issued Labor Advisory No. 19-2020, or the guidelines in the application and issuance of AEPs for foreign nationals employed in POGOs during the modified Enhanced and General Community Quarantine Periods requiring the POGO and its related establishments to submit a copy of the PAGCOR Authority to Resume Operations, in addition to the documentary requirements for the issuance of AEP.