Stricter rules needed on entry of Chinese workers in PH, says Pagcor chief


Posted at Aug 15 2019 12:36 PM | Updated as of Aug 15 2019 12:50 PM

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MANILA - The head of the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation on Thursday called for stricter measures in allowing foreign nationals to enter and work in the Philippines.

"There should be stricter screening at the points of getting visas and at the points of entry," said Pagcor chief Andrea Domingo.

Last week, the Chinese embassy in Manila urged the Philippine government to punish those behind the alleged illegal recruitment of Chinese nationals to offshore gaming operations in the country.

Chinese law bans its citizens from engaging in "any form of gambling" including online and those that are based overseas but cater to Chinese nationals, China's embassy in Manila said in a statement.

"Our law is jurisdictional in nature. If you exclude players where gambling is illegal, I think it is not our responsibility but it's the responsibility of that country to prevent their people from gambling," said Domingo.

She said consulates in Beijing and Fujian should select who should be tourists and who would be workers.

"They should not allow them to come in as just tourists and we should just not be converting. During my time as commissioner, we did not convert from tourist to working visas," she said.

She said foreign nationals who intend to work in the Philippines should be required to apply for an alien employment permit even before arriving in Manila. 

"So when they come here, they present that they're coming here with the intention of really working and that they are applying for an alien employment permit or special or a provisional work permit from BI [Bureau of Immigration]," she said.

She added: "When they do this properly, screening for the first time when they come under the jurisdiction of immigration would be a lot easier or there is less chances of corruption."

She explained that when foreign workers come in as tourists they could work for those that are not regulated by PAGCOR or be victimized by human smugglers who can put them in "a less palatable position".

"It doesn't mean that being strict is preventing everybody. It's just getting those qualified,” she said.