THE House Committee on Labor and Employment has approved a proposal to require a so-called “labor market test” before foreigners are issued work permits to ensure that no similarly-qualified Filipinos are available for employment.

On Wednesday, the committee approved the consolidation of bills seeking to regulate foreign employment in the Philippines.

“There is a motion to consolidate House bills 4514, 5472 and 829 subject to style and incorporating recommendations if any… the motion is hereby approved,” according to the panel’s chairman, Representative Enrico A. Pineda of the 1-PACMAN party-list.

The unnumbered measure consolidating the bills seeks to amend the Labor Code of the Philippines in the matter of issuing employment permits to foreign nationals.

It proposes to grant employment permits to non-resident foreign nationals “subject to the labor market test based on the non-availability of a qualified and willing Filipino national.”

The bill gives the Secretary of Labor the authority to exempt foreign nationals from the labor market test if warranted by law.

The Department of Labor and Employment has conducted labor market studies prior to the issuing employment permits on the strength of department orders and other guidelines. — Gillian M. Cortez