Number of foreign workers in region triples

A friendly invasion? The number of Chinese tourists and workers in Central Visayas, particularly Cebu, has ballooned following President Rodrigo Duterte’s three visits to the People’s Republic of China since he took office in 2016. (SunStar File)

A TOTAL of 2,432 foreigners worked in Central Visayas, particularly in Cebu, as of last November. They are in possession of an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) 7.

Last year, the number of AEP holders was much lower at 839, according to Dole 7 Director Johnson Cañete.

The foreigners are composed of different nationalities, such as Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Indians, Taiwanese, Americans, Danish, Pakistanis, Australians, French, Malaysians, Vietnamese, Spanish, Russians and Israelis.

Cañete said the Chinese make up the highest number of foreign workers in the region. Their number rose from 81 to 1,301 following President Rodrigo Duterte’s three visits to the People’s Republic of China since he took office in Malacañang in July 2016.

The rapid increase in the number of Chinese workers has attracted attention amid growing concerns that Chinese nationals are taking over companies in the Philippines.

Most of the Chinese nationals who possess an AEP work at a business process outsourcing firm at Newtown in Barangay Mactan, Lapu-Lapu City.

The requirements for an AEP include an accomplished and notarized application form, photocopy of passport with visa and present original certificate of recognition for refugees or stateless persons, original copy of contract of employment, photocopy of employer’s certificate of registration from the Department of Trade and Industry or Securities and Exchange Commission, photocopy of mayor’s permit to operate the business, two 2×2 ID pictures with white background and proof of tax identification number.

“We grant AEPs to applicants after their employers are able to justify the need for these workers who can speak their language,” Cañete said.

He said the application is also published in the newspaper so that if there are valid complaints against the AEP applicant, Dole will disapprove the application.

“We cannot allow foreigners to work in fields where Filipinos are capable and available. That’s why we publish the application for AEP first before we approve it,” Cañete said.

According to the director, 16 applicants were denied an AEP for not having the complete requirements this year.

Meanwhile, General Manager Steve Dicdican of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority said South Koreans make up the highest number of foreign arrivals in Cebu, followed by the Chinese, Japanese and Americans. EOB


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