Nearshore Americas
philippines BPO crisis

Philippines Arrests Allegedly Illegal Foreign Call Center Workers

More than 100 foreign employees at a call center in the Philippines have been arrested on charges of working without a visa.

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration, a government agency that carried out the raid, has not disclosed the name of the call center, but said the employer is one of the largest business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in the country.

The majority of the detainees are Chinese, with other nationalities including Indonesian, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and Laotian.

The suspects were not able to provide any documents accrediting their legal residency in the country at the time of the raid, local media reported.

The suspects detained are likely to face deportation.

Jaime Morente, chief of the country’s Bureau of Immigration, has urged local BPO employees to tip off authorities if they find other illegal foreign workers, adding that the raid would serve at a warning to those seeking to work illegally in his country.

Dana Sandoval, a spokesperson of the agency, said the detainees were illegally brought into the country for work in call centers.

The incident has cast fresh doubts on the Philippines’ ability to supply enough skilled workers for its call center industry.

Last week, Rey Untal, president of the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines, said he opposed the government’s plans to relocate BPO companies to special economic zones in the outskirts of the capital Manila, saying it is hard to find skilled workers there.

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Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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