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Philippines – Eligibility to Work

Securing permission to hold a job in the Philippines is a prerequisite to acquiring a visa for entry into the country for the purpose of lawful occupation.

For non-resident foreign nationals looking to work in the Philippines, they must primarily gain permission to hold a job from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)  before applying for a work visa.

In essence, an employee or the principal applicant must first be petitioned by a company which is registered as a corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and whose tax obligations to the Philippine Government are that of a corporation as well.

From there, the Philippine Government requires such nationals to apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) from the DOLE. This is to secure permission to hold a job in the Philippines.

The AEP card is normally applied for in tandem with a long term work visa or an assignment at least 12 months in duration. On the other hand, this work visa is a travel document that will be stamped on the foreigner’s passport and is what will provide entry into the Philippines for gainful employment. In general, it must be shown that the services of the foreigner are indispensable to the management, operation, administration or control of local or locally based firms.  Notably, there exists three (3) types of non-immigrant work visas: 9(G) visa; 47A2 visa; and the Special Non-Immigrant Visa under EO 226.  Eligibility to and requirements of each respective work visa is dependent on the background of the sponsor corporation.  Application fees for each document or permit will be required per submission.

In addition to the AEP, foreign nationals must obtain a provisional work permit  (PWP) to work, while the approval of the long term work visa is still pending.  This PWP is issued by the Bureau of Immigration and is normally valid for three months from the date of issue.  The Bureau of Immigration shall not issue a working visa unless and until the AEP from the DOLE is obtained.

In contrast, if the duration of the assignment is less than six months, a Special Work Permit  (SWP) application may be submitted to the authorities in support of a tourist visa. A long term work visa will be inapplicable.

The spouse and  unmarried children under the age of 21 years may be included in the  long-term work visa application of the principal applicant but  are then considered as dependents.

Unfortunately, holders of dependent visas are not allowed to work in the Philippines whether full or part-time. Should they wish to engage in personal employment, each dependent must apply for their own working visa through an application filed by their employer.

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Sources:
www.immigration.gov.ph
http://www.ble.dole.gov.ph/index.php/web-pages/118-alien-employment-permit
http://philfaqs.com/basics-of-working-in-the-philippines-for-foreigners/
http://www.expatcareers.com/Philippines/visas_and_immigration/
http://www.expatarrivals.com/philippines/visas-for-philippines
http://bestphilippinesretirement.com/retireology/working-in-the-philippines/