As many as 14,000 undocumented foreign workers may currently be working in the illicit and licensed online gambling business in the Philippines. That’s according to a new report from Philippines Department of Labor. It’s a hot button issue that could have a major impact on the entire online gambling business emanating from the island nation.

The Philippines is home to a massive offshore gambling industry that operates under the moniker Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators (POGOs). Most POGOs are legitimate operations that employ foreign workers legally. As many as 51,000 people are currently in the country under that exact circumstance. But there’s a flip side to that.

According to a statement from Bureau of Local Employment Director Dominique Tutay, a recent survey of POGOs found thousands of undocumented workers. Of the 14,000 undocumented foreign workers revealed by inspections of 171 POGOs, approximately 8,000 were working without permits at all, while another 6,000 did not fully meet the requirements to obtain a proper permit.

Rep. Ace Barbers took the inspection a step further by pointing out that many supposedly legitimate POGOs are actually illegal in the first place, meaning none of their employees are in the Philippines legitimately. “The alleged ‘kolorum’ (unlicensed) POGOs operating in the country may undermine the local anti-money laundering and anti-drug and criminality campaigns,” he said to The Mail Standard.

Labor authorities in the country have promised to make the process of obtaining an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) simpler in an effort to get all the foreign employees on record. While authorities clearly care that all people working in the country pay proper taxes, it’s also been acknowledged that undocumented foreign workers are vulnerable to physical and economic exploitation.


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