Overtime fees for BI staff opposed
Foreign business groups have opposed provisions for “overtime fees” in the proposed Immigration Act, arguing that this would not be needed if the government was bent on modernizing its immigration processes and
In a statement, the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) urged the House and Senate committees on Justice to scrap the provision which authorizes the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to charge airline companies and shippers overtime fees and instead to provide needed services as a matter of course in line with international practices.
The JFC specifically asked lawmakers to delete the entire section that authorizes the Immigration Commissioner to assign immigration employees “to do overtime work or services to be prescribed at rates fixed by the Commissioner of Immigration when the service rendered is to be paid for by the airline, shipping companies or other persons served.”
The group also asked lawmakers to remove the authority of the bureau to “allocate a percentage share from its income generated to pay for 24/7
operations” and to simply include overtime payments in its annual budget.
“Part of the modernization of immigration services is the ability of government to match the 24/7 operations of international airlines, a major partner in tourism development,” the chamber’s position paper stressed.
“The practice of charging overtime fees, meals and transportation allowances to international airlines should now be removed and replaced with one where services provided by BI personnel, as employees of the government, are duly compensated by the State from its budget. This will accord with international practice and the current policy of the Aquino Administration,” the JFC statement said.
The foreign business group stressed that in general it was supporting government efforts to modernize immigration services through the proposed Act.
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