Philippines: Joint Guidelines On Work Authorization For Foreign Nationals To Take Effect On July 16

Last Updated: 9 September 2019
Article by Fragomen  

At a Glance

The Joint Guidelines that seek to clarify the issuance of work authorization to foreign nationals who intend to work, perform specific activities or render services in the Philippines will become effective on July 16. Key changes contained in the Joint Guidelines include:

  • A detailed list of foreign visitors who require a short-term Special Work Permit (SWP);
  • A requirement for all foreign nationals intending to work in the Philippines to submit a Taxpayer Identification Number to support their application;
  • A limit on the validity of SWPs and Provisional Work Permits to six months without possibility of renewal; and
  • A new rule that automatically cancels work visas that require a valid related permit or similar document issued by another government office or agency if an application for such related permit or document is denied.

The situation

According to a government announcement, the Joint Guidelines that seek to clarify the issuance of work authorization to foreign nationals who intend to work, perform specific activities or render services in the Philippines will become effective on July 16.

A closer look

Key changes contained in the Joint Guidelines include the following:

  • Detailed list of visitors requiring Special Work Permits (SWP). The government has clarified the list of visitors who now require an SWP to enter the Philippines. Key categories now include:

  • Impact. The expounded list of activities has clarified and formalized the activities that will require work authorisation.
  • Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) requirement. All work visa applicants (short-term and long-term), and foreign nationals engaged in a trade or business or in the practice of a regulated profession must submit a TIN to support their work visa application.
    • Impact. Obtaining a TIN prior to the Alien Employment Permit (AEP) or work visa application adds an additional step to and can delay the work authorization process. Employers should plan to file their applications early to avoid potential issues in the deployment of their foreign employees.
  • Limits on validity of PWP. Provisional Work Permits (PWPs) can now be issued only for a maximum of six months, without the possibility of renewal. This is consistent with the supplemental guidelines earlier issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) that imposed strict monitoring of the issuance of PWPs. PWPs are also used by 9(g) Pre-Arranged Employment Visa applicants to work on a short-term basis while their visa is being processed.
    • Impact. If the visa is not issued within this period and the PWP expires, the foreign national will lose their right to work and must wait until the 9(g) visa is issued before starting work again.
  • Automatic Cancellation of Provisional Work Permit. PWPs that require a related permit or similar document issued by another government agency for its continued validity will be deemed automatically cancelled if an application for such related permit or document is denied. For example, a PWP will be deemed automatically cancelled if the holder's application for an AEP or 9(g) visa is denied.
    • Impact. Foreign nationals holding an approved PWP must stop working immediately should their application for an AEP or long-term work visa be denied. This can interrupt the foreign national's work authorization validity and can delay their ability to re-obtain work authorization by two to four months.

Background

The Joint Guidelines were issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), BI and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The Guidelines were created to restrict the issuance of work authorization to address concerns from various labour, political and economic stakeholders in the Philippines in reaction to reports of undocumented/unauthorized foreign workers, the loss of government revenue from unpaid income taxes, and the spiralling of property prices, among other concerns.

The below image shows the progression of these Guidelines:

Looking ahead

Foreign nationals may experience increased scrutiny of their immigration applications as the Joint Guidelines are adapted to existing processes. As long as public concern on the topic continues, the Philippine government is likely to revise more rules to protect local workers.

Fragomen is closely monitoring these Guidelines and will report on relevant developments.

We worked closely with our Philippine affiliates in Manila to prepare this alert. It is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to APCCInitiations@fragomen.com .

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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