Foreign workers (left side of the table) with officials from the Division of Labor, Ministry of Justice. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Justice)

Bureau of Immigration and Division of Labor issued a report on the results of the Amnesty Program that was authorized under Executive Order 428 effective from November 1, 2019 to December 30, 2019.

During the Amnesty period, 200 non-citizens came to avail of the Amnesty Program and only 169 were deemed eligible non-resident workers for the program.

The 169 eligible nonresidents represented 3% of the total non-resident worker population.   Bangladesh citizens represented the largest group in the Amnesty program, 54% of 169  while Philippine citizens, the second largest, was 40% of the total number of eligible noncitizens.

Two top reasons cited for lack of legal immigration status were non-renewal of work permits by employer (28%) and closure of a business (24%).  Closure of Business is an allowable condition for re-employment (transfer) by law.

Majority of nonresident workers under the Amnesty program (61 out 169) have not had legal immigration status for up to 6 months.

Report also states that most of the nonresident workers seeking amnesty are mainly from occupations in construction, masonry and carpentry.  Most of those who were individually hired and seeking amnesty are domestic helpers, farmers and houseboys.

Of the 169 eligible nonresident workers, 113 of them already had potential employers at the time of the interview.  213 potential employers of the workers in the Amnesty Program had sign up with the Division of Labor showing a need for a total of 247 workers.

Division of Labor is currently screening eligible employers and under the new regulations will be implementing Cash Bond Requirements and Third-Party Surety to ensure employers are able to pay their employees and/or repatriation. (L.N. Reklai)