Do you need to get an Alien Employment Permit (AEP)?

An Alien Employment Permit (AEP) is issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to non-resident foreign nationals, authorizing them to work in the Philippines.

All foreign non-resident workers in Philippine-based companies and all local or foreign employers looking to engage foreign nationals for employment in the country are required by DOLE to secure an alien employment permit.

Who are exempted from securing an AEP?

As with most rules and regulations, there are some exceptions.

On August 20, 2015, DOLE issued a comprehensive range of revisions to the rules governing the issuance of employment permits to foreign nationals.

Part of these revisions is the new list of certain categories of foreign nationals exempted from securing an AEP:

a) All members of the diplomatic service as well as foreign government officials accredited by the Philippine government and with which the Philippines enjoys a reciprocity arrangement.

b) Officers and staff members of international organizations that the Philippine government is a member of, including their legitimate spouses looking to work in the country.

c) All foreign nationals granted exemption by special laws.

d) Owners and representatives of foreign principals whose companies are accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) who are staying in the country for a limited time for the sole purpose of interviewing Filipino applicants for overseas employment.

e) Foreign nationals who, as visiting, exchange or adjunct professors, come to the country to teach, present, and/or conduct research studies in Philippine colleges and universities. This needs to be under the aegis of a formal agreement between the Philippine and foreign colleges and universities, or between the Philippine and foreign government, and with the proviso that the exemption is reciprocal.

f) Permanent resident foreign nationals and probationary or temporary resident visa holders under Section 13 of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940.

Who are excluded from securing an AEP?

Foreign nationals employed in corporations who belong to the following categories are excluded from securing an AEP.

a) Members of the governing board with voting rights only and are not involved in the management of the corporation or its day to day operation.

b) Corporate officers such as President, Secretary, and Treasurer, as defined under the Corporation Code of the Philippines, Articles of Incorporation, and By-Laws of the Corporation.

c) Consultancy service providers that do not have employers in the Philippines.

d) An intra-corporate transferee who is a manager, executive, or specialist as defined below in accordance with Trade Agreements and who was an employee of the Foreign Service supplier for at least 1 year prior to their deployment to the branch, subsidiary, affiliate or representative office in the Philippines.

i. Executive: a natural person in the organization primarily charged with directing its management. Executives enjoy freer rein in decision making, receiving only general supervision or direction from higher-ranking executives, the board of directors, or company stockholders.

Executives are not involved in the hands-on execution of the primary services of the organization.

ii. Manager: a natural person in the company tasked with directing all or part of the organization, with supervisory and control functions over other supervisory, managerial, or professional staff.

First-line supervisors are not included unless their supervised employees are professionals.

iii. Specialist: a natural person in the company that possesses an advanced level of knowledge and expertise essential to the execution of a company’s service who may or may not possess proprietary knowledge of the organization’s techniques, research equipment, services, or management.

e) Executives, managers, specialists, or employees of foreign contractual service suppliers that have no commercial presence in the Philippines who:

i. Enters the country temporarily to complete a contract between their employer and a service consumer in the Philippines.

ii. Must possess the appropriate educational and professional qualifications; and

iii. Must be employed by said service provider for at least 1 year before the supply of service in the Philippines.