October 20, 2022 2 min read

PBI Confirms Repatriations of POGO Workers Begin

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration is delivering on its promise to repatriate workers who worked in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) without the necessary visa and permits to work. The PBI has vowed to send home around 40,000 workers (previous numbers put them closer to 48,000), with the first six of those processed on Wednesday. The six workers were reported as Chinese nationals by the Philippine News Agency.

POGO Workers Get Sent Home as Deportations Begin

China has had a big part to play in this. The country has long been working to diplomatically convince the Philippine government to take POGOs more seriously. China has described POGOs as illegal operators, but the Philippine government has said that any licensed operator is a POGO and those that do not have a proper permit issued cannot be referred to POGOs at all. There was even a brief rumor that China has blacklisted PAGCOR as a non-eligible tourist destination. The rumor was shut down by Chinese officials, however.  

However, the Philippines has been eager to ensure that its reputation remains intact, looking at neighbouring Cambodia, which is actively trying to tackle gambling-related crime which has hurt its international standing as well as its business outlook and tourist industry. The workers that the Philippines is presently sending home used to work across 175 POGOs whose licenses have been terminated due to non-compliance with government-issued rules.

The PBI is hoping to send as many as 3,000 workers back home by the end of October. “We have prioritized the cancellation of those who have valid and existing visas, and are still in the country,” the PBI reported. Following the sweeping regulatory move against POGOs, the number of POGOs has fallen down to 34 approved operators.

The Philippines is committed to cleaning up unregulated companies as PAGCOR is a state-run regulator and operator, which benefits immensely from keeping the industry aboveboard and clean of corruption. A rapprochement with neighbors in the region is also a good way to stimulate the Philippine tourism industry.

Journalist

Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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