Senate urged to fast-track law regulating foreign labor

MANILA Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles on Monday said he had filed a bill that seeks to protect Filipino labor and strengthen regulations in the employment of foreign nationals, amid the stir about foreign nationals allegedly flooding the country's labor force.

Nograles said he and his brother, former Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, who is now Cabinet Secretary, had authored House Bill 277, and subsequently House Bill 8368 that seeks to amend Articles 40, 41 and 42 of Title II, Book 1 of Presidential Decree 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines

Nograles said the measure has been approved on third and final reading in the House of Representatives last Nov. 11, 2018 and has been transmitted to the Senate for action on Nov. 27, 2018.

If enacted into law, Nograles said stricter rules on the employment of foreign nationals would be in effect.

Nograles said with the increasing public sentiment against the influx of foreign nationals in the country's labor force, senators should prioritize the proposed law.

There will be strict implementation and harsh penalties for those who will employ foreigners first before Filipinos. That is my proposal, Nograles said.

"The influx of laborers will increase if we do not pass laws protecting the Filipino laborer. We still have time if the Senate fast tracks the passage of the bill," Nograles added.

Labor market test

Nograles' HB 8368 seeks to adopt the Labor Market Test (LMT) as basis in determining the non-availability of qualified and willing Filipino national to do services, for which the foreign national is being hired.

This means that before hiring a foreign national for a certain job posting, an employer must advertise the position and review resumes for more than 30 days, but less than 180 days, prior to filing the application to ensure that there are no other qualified local workers available.

"They have to open the position to Pinoy applicants first and only hire foreign nationals if none of the applicants are qualified for the position," Nograles said.

The bill also mandates that foreign nationals, who are issued employment permits, shall transfer their skills and technology to Filipino understudies within a prescribed period.

Moreover, the bill increases fines and penalties for violations by foreign nationals and their employers to deter transgressions.

Any foreign national and his employer, who violate Articles 289 and 290 of the Labor Code, shall pay a fine of PHP50,000 to PHP100,000 or suffer imprisonment of six months to six years, or both, at the discretion of the court.

In addition, the alien worker shall be deported after serving his sentence.

The secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) shall impose a fine of PHP50,000 for every year or fraction thereof to both the foreign national found working without valid employment permit and his employer.

All non-resident foreign nationals seeking employment in the Philippines shall obtain an employment permit from the DOLE.

An employment permit may be issued to a non-resident foreign national subject to a Labor Market Test based on the non-availability of qualified and willing Filipino nationals.

After the issuance of an employment permit, the foreign national shall not transfer to another job or change his employer without the prior approval of the DOLE secretary.

Subject to existing laws and agreements and after consultation with the National Tripartite Industry Peace Council, the DOLE Secretary shall grant exemption to foreign nationals from the Labor Market Test, where there is a short supply of qualified and willing Filipino nationals in industries, occupations, and professions.

Any employer shall submit a list of such nationals to the DOLE Secretary and concerned regional director, who has jurisdiction over the employer within 30 days after hiring, indicating their names, citizenship, foreign and local addresses, nature of employment, and status of stay in the country.

The DOLE secretary shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations to implement the provisions of the Act. (PR)

Source: Philippines News Agency

Related posts