MANILA (Kyodo) Japan’s immigration clampdown on “entertainers” will not make a large dent in the Philippines’ revenue from overseas remittances, Philippine Central Bank Gov. Rafael Buenaventura predicted Monday.

“Probably minimal impact. If I were to make a guestimate, it would be a minimal impact,” Buenaventura said when asked by how much he thinks Japan’s enforcement of stricter admission policies for foreigners on “entertainer” visas will affect revenues.

Japan is set to do away with the automatic issuance of a six-month entertainer visa to people cleared as entertainers by their home countries. Instead, it will require that entertainers show proof of two years of schooling or two years of experience in the entertainment field.

The Philippines is dependent on about $8 billion in foreign remittances being sent annually by its nationals working and living abroad. Filipinos in Japan alone sent $398.8 million in 2003 and $184 million from January to September 2004.

Buenaventura said the revenue losses “would be more than made up for by increased remittances elsewhere.”

“The growth of the (overseas Filipino workers) elsewhere is continuing to be strong,” he said, citing a continuing need for Filipino nurses in the United States, Britain and elsewhere.

“The type of people we are sending abroad is earning more and therefore able to remit more,” Buenaventura said.

Aside from this, the entry of health workers to Japan may offset any displacement of illegal entertainers, he said.

Buenaventura also said the Philippines’ removal from a list of countries with lax money-laundering enforcement will also lead to more remittances as it has become easier to remit officially.

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force delisted the Philippines last week from its list of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories after the group evaluated the Philippines’ efforts against money-laundering.

“When we were on the blacklist, many were discouraged from remitting because (of) the amount of paperwork that had to be put in place,” he said.

Buenaventura said it is difficult to quantify losses because of the difficulty in estimating the actual number of illegal workers. The legal workers are probably the ones who remit officially through formal routes, he said.

Entertainment-sector workers, talent managers and employment agencies have strongly urged the government in recent months to seek even a two-year grace period before Japan’s implementation of its new visa rules, which they say will result in displacement and unemployment.

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