Mar Roxas: Stop ‘automatic’ visas for Chinese

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition senatorial bet Mar Roxas said on Monday, April 22, that the Philippines should stop granting “automatic” visas to Chinese arriving to the country.

“Para sa akin itigil na yan automatic visa granting, itigil yan at bilangin natin, ilan na ba silang nakapasok dito, saan sila nagtatrabaho, at nagbabayad ba sila ng tamang buwis tulad ng mga Pilipino, dapat monitored,” Roxas said on Monday during a sortie in Catarman.

(For me, we should stop granting automatic visas, and we should start counting how many of them are already here, what their jobs are, and if they are paying the right taxes like Filipinos do. We should monitor them.) 

The Philippines, through the Bureau of Immigration (BI), started granting visas-on-arrival to “qualified” Chinese nationals in August 2017.

The landing visas are issued to:

The Senate has since probed into the supposed steady influx of Chinese workers to the country. 

Based on statistics provided by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), as of September 2018, alien employment permits (AEPs) were given to 25,000 Chinese, but opposition senator Franklin Drilon said during a Senate investigation that there must be more.

Industry insiders estimated that there are "easily" around 100,000 to 250,000 Chinese workers in the country, most of them hired through Philippine Online Gambling Operations (POGOs).

Roxas has always expressed his strong stance against hiring Chinese workers, particularly for jobs that could have easily gone to Filipinos like construction work.

Wala nang control, automatic visa yung mga Chinese workers na aagawin ang mga trabaho na kaya naman gawin ng mga Pilipino, nasa construction 'di ba? Ano ang special na kakayahan ng Chinese na hindi kaya ng Pilipino pagdating sa construction, sa pagiging karpentero, pagiging mason,” Roxas said.

 (We can't control it anymore, Chinese get automatic visas to take away jobs that Filipinos can do, are they not in construction work? What is their special skill that Filipinos don't have when it comes to construction, or in being carpenters or masons?) 

In the face of scrutiny, the BI said in February that it will implement stricter requirements in granting foreign working visas. (READ: Labor Senate bet says illegal Chinese workers should be deported)

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said  "no work permit will be issued" to foreign applicants seeking employment in blue-collar jobs, citing job positions for construction workers, cashiers, janitors, and carpenters. –

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.