Regardless of the source of compensation and duration of the assignment in the Philippines, all foreign nationals seeking admission to the country for employment purposes are required by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to secure a work visa as well as an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
These foreign nationals must comply with mandatory submissions from several government agencies before commencing work in a fully-registered Philippine-based company.
9(g) Pre-Arranged Employee Commercial Visa
The 9(g) or Pre-Arranged Employee Visa Commercial is the most common type of work visa availed by foreign nationals engaged in gainful employment in the Philippines. This visa entitles the holder multiple entries and exits into and out of the country while working with a company registered or licensed to do business and existing under Philippine laws. With the 9g visa, the foreigner is entitled to legitimately work and stay in the country for a duration approved by the Bureau of Immigration, which should correspond with his employment contract.
A requisite to this visa is the Alien Employment Permit (AEP), issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The whole visa processing (including the AEP) usually takes 2 – 3 months to process. The AEP alone takes 2 – 3 weeks to process in the Labor Department upon submission of the complete documentary requirements. While waiting for the approval of the 9g visa, the applicant who wishes to stay in the country even with an AEP, should continuously update his immigration status by extending his tourist visa. An important point to remember is that we can only start the processing of the AEP application when the employer-company has already secured its local/city business permit.
If the foreign employee is required to start working immediately even while the the visa is in process, a Provisional Work Permit (PWP) can be an alternative option. The PWP is a document, which authorizes the foreigner to start working even while the AEP or 9g visa is still in process. It can be filed as soon as the AEP application is filed and can be obtained after 2 weeks.
9(g) Pre-Arranged Employee NON-Commercial Visa
Foreign nationals who are engaged in missionary, social, rehabilitation, and medical mission can apply for the 9(g) or Pre-Arranged Employee Visa Non- Commercial Visa (Missionary Visa). A locally registered company can serve as the Petitioner of the visa application. The applicant national must be involved in the community immersion project in a community or assigned location. The applicant must also not be receiving or generating income from the local company.
The processing timeline for this visa application takes between 1 – 2 months from the date of filing. The visa is valid for 1 year and renewable thereafter as long as the engagement is existing.
Special Non-Immigrant Visa or 47(A)(2)
Section 47(A)(2) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, allows the President to admit as non-immigrants, foreign nationals who are coming for a temporary period only, under conditions as he may prescribe. This consequently paved the way for the creation of special visas, under special laws, for investors or employees of PEZA and/or BOI-registered companies or those in the oil-drilling industries.
This type of visa requires the employer’s sponsorship and is valid for the duration of the contract/term of office or for one (1) year, whichever is shorter. It is a company-specific visa that limits the percentage of foreign national employees to less than 5% of the total workforce. Holders of this visa are exempted from ACR I-card requirement.
Special Non-Immigrant Visa under E.O. 226, as amended by R.A. 8756 (ROHQ)
The Special Non-Immigrant Multiple Entry Visa is issued pursuant to Book III Article 60 of Executive Order No. 226, as amended by Republic Act No. 8756, to foreign personnel, their respective spouses, and unmarried children under twenty-one (21) years of age, of regional or area headquarters of multinational companies. The visa shall be valid for a period of three (3) years to enter the Philippines or equivalent with the applicant’s employment contract with the headquarters.
To qualify for the visa, the foreigner-applicant must be an EXECUTIVE of the applicant-company, will work EXCLUSIVELY for the applicant’s regional or area headquarters or regional operating headquarters, will receive a salary, and will be paid by the headquarters in the Philippines an amount equivalent to at least twelve thousand United States Dollars (US$12,000), or the equivalent in other foreign currencies, per annum. This will have to be certified under oath by a responsible officer of the applicant company.
The processing time usually takes about 3 – 4 weeks from the date of application in the Bureau of Immigration.
On top of the multiple-entry privileges, the visa holder shall also have the benefit of getting the following incentives:
- Exemption from payment of all fees due under immigration and alien registration laws;
- Exemption from securing alien certificates of registration (or ACR I-Card);
- Exemption from obtaining emigration clearance certificates (or ECC)
- Exemption from all types of clearance required by any government department or agency, except upon final departure from the Philippines (including AEP from DOLE).
- Withholding tax of 15% on compensation income.
- Tax and duty-free importation of personal and household effects
- Travel tax exemption
Types of Foreign Work Permits in the Philippines
Special Work Permit (SWP)
The Special Work Permit (SWP) is a work permit intended for short-term assignments/employment of up to 6 months. A locally registered company must be willing to serve as the Petitioner. The SWP is good for 3 months during the initial application and extendible for another 3 months. During the course of the SWP validity, the status of the foreign national remains as a tourist. Thus, a tourist visa extension must be undertaken if necessary.
The approval of the SWP normally takes between 2 – and 3 weeks. Upon issuance, the Bureau of Immigration will grant an Official SWP order of approval which will serve as the permit to work.
₱ 6,440.00 (USD $325)
₱6,440.00 (USD $325)
*Fees are updated as of 06 March 2014 and may change without prior notice.
Additional Fee for ACR I-Card
1 Year – + US $50
*Fees are updated as of 06 March 2014 and may change without prior notice.
Provisional Work Permit (PWP)
A Provisional Work Permit (PWP) is issued by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to foreign nationals who currently hold temporary visitor visas but wish to commence work in the Philippines while the approval of their employment visa application, either the 9g or 9d, is in progress.
A PWP is normally valid for three (3) months from the date of issuance or until the 9g visa is issued, whichever comes first. Foreign nationals who intend to commence employment while their Alien Employment Permit is pending approval from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) must also secure the PWP to be allowed to work in the country.
This work permit is extendible until a work visa has been approved.
Alien Employment Permit (AEP)
A foreign national who intends to work in the Philippines is required by the government to secure an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). This permit authorizes a foreign national to engage in gainful activities provided that no domestic manpower is available for the particular designation.
All foreign nationals are required to have an AEP if the intention of entry in the Philippines is to engage in any gainful employment except those expressly exempted by law. Holders of other functional visas such as Special Investors Resident Visa (SIRV), Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), Treaty Traders (9D) Visa, or Special Non-Immigrant Visa (47A2) are also subject to an AEP.
Unlike the Special Work Permit (SWP), an AEP is for longer work assignments or contracts. An AEP is initially valid for one (1) to five (5) years depending on the duration of the contract and renewable for a maximum period of 5 years. This should be filed personally or through the petitioning employer at the DOLE Regional Office having jurisdiction over the principal place of business of the petitioner. In case the foreign national is to be assigned to branch offices or subsidiaries in a different location, the application must be made at the nearest Field Office.