POGO exodus: number of foreign worker applications halves

Chinese nationals working for POGOs account for about 90 per cent of the permits.
Chinese nationals working for POGOs account for about 90 per cent of the permits.

There were 49 per cent fewer requests for permits between January and September compared to the same period last year.  

The Philippines.- The number of foreign nationals applying for permission to work in the Philippines for offshore gaming operators (POGOs) has fallen by half.  

A source from the Bureau of Local Employment told The Enquirer that 73,640 applications for alien employment permits (AEP) were received from January to September, a drop of 49 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. 

About 84.46 per cent of those permits were for foreign nationals employed by POGOs. Of those, 89.03 per cent were given to Chinese nationals. Vietnamese, Malaysian and Indonesian workers account for most of the remaining 10 per cent.  

Inbound travel restrictions have had an impact on the number of foreign workers seeking employment in the Philippines.  

At the same time many POGOs have shut down permanently since the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has warned POGOs they would need to settle their debts with foreign workers as well as the tax authorities in order to get permission to restart operations after lockdown.

In addition, the Philippine government is also looking to increase its income from the gaming industry via tax hikes, in order to raise funds for pandemic relief efforts.  

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