BI reminds foreign athletes, entertainers to get work permit

THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminded on Saturday professional foreign athletes and entertainers to secure special work permits with the agency before playing or performing in the Philippines to avoid being punished for violating the country’s immigration laws.

Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr., said in a statement that foreign players and entertainers cannot engage in gainful activity in the country without the necessary special work permit.

The BI has been enforcing the SWP requirement since 1999 following a crackdown on imports playing in the Philippine Basketball Association.

“Foreigners and promoters who do not comply with this requirement are liable for violating our immigration laws, thus they can be arrested, deported or fined by the bureau,” the BI chief said.

The requirement applies to athletes, trainers and coaches, hired for sports tournament and foreign entertainers, such as singers and dancers, scheduled to perform in concerts and television shows in the country.

In the case of foreign athletes, Lawyer Grace Lara, BI chief of staff, said that their SWP application should be endorsed by the organization or sports association that sponsored the competition.

For foreign entertainers, Lara said they should be endorsed by the Asosasyon ng Musikong Pilipino, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit, Film Academy of the Philippines, or Filipino Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

The employer shall also submit a written undertaking that all taxes due from the income of the applicant shall be withheld and remitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

An SWP applicant is charged P6,440 for the application, processing, service, legal research, express lane, and clearance certificate fees. Anthony Vargas

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