Nograles urges Senate to fast-track foreign labor regulations
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-List Representative Jericho Nograles requests the Senate to expedite the creation of a law that aims to protect Filipino labor and strengthen foreign employment regulations.
With the sudden influx of foreign nationals in the country’s labor force, Jericho Nograles along with his brother Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles penned House Bill (H.B.) No. 277, and later H.B. No. 8368 to amend Articles 40, 41, and 42 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 442, commonly known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.
The House of Representatives approved the third and final reading of the House Bill last November 11, 2018. Congress transmitted these measures for action to the Senate on November 27, 2018.
Once signed into law, it will promote strict regulation on foreign national employment and curb the increasing uproar of the public towards the massive increase of foreign nationals in the local workforce. “The influx of [foreign] 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 said.
H.B. 8368 to Test Labor Market and Availability of Local Talent
H.B. No. 8368, on the other hand, adopts the use of a Labor Market Test (LMT) to help recruiters identify the need to hire a foreign national. The LMT will determine if a specific job function cannot be filled by a qualified and willing Filipino professional.
The employer must advertise the position and review resumes for more than 30 days, but less than 180 days, to ensure there are no available local workers qualified to render the job function. An employer can only hire a foreign national if no local workers can perform the said position.
“They have to open the position to Pinoy applicants first and only hire foreign nationals if none of the local applicants are qualified for the position,” Nograles said.
Foreign workers must secure their employment permits from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). They will later be subjected to an LMT based on the non-availability of any local worker for a particular job.
According to the bill, foreign nationals issued with employment permits must transfer their skills and technology to Filipino understudies within a prescribed period. Furthermore, foreign nationals and their employers with repeated offenses and violations will receive increased fines and penalties to discourage any form of misbehavior.
If proven that both employer and the foreign national violated Articles 289 and 290 of the Labor Code, they must pay a fine of P50,000 to P100,000 or receive a sentence of six months to six years of imprisonment, or both, at the discretion of the court. The government will deport the alien worker to their home country after serving their imprisonment sentence.