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Working Permits for Foreigners in the Philippines

Foreign nationals who want to work in the Philippines have to obtain not just the appropriate visa, but a work permit as well. Working without a permitcould result in heavy fines for both the employee and the employer.

Not all foreigners who come to the Philippines to work need a permit. The following are exempted from this rule:

  • Members of a corporate board with voting rights, but without any position in the company

  • Owners and representatives of a POEA-registered foreign company who come to the Philippines to interview job applicants

  • Foreign nationals who were invited for teaching or research jobs, as part of an agreement between a foreign and local institution, or between a foreign government and the Philippine government

  • Members of the diplomatic services or accredited officials of foreign governments

  • Officers and employees (and their spouses) of an international organization, of which the Philippines is a member

  • Any foreign national exempted by Philippine special laws

  • Foreign nationals with permanent or temporary/probationary resident visas

There are three kinds of work permits for foreign nationals: Special Work Permit, Alien Employment Permit, and Provisional Work Permit.

Special Work Permit

A Special Work Permit is granted to those who will be working in the country for only six months or less. They include:

  • Professional athletes who will be competing or participating in an event for less than six months

  • Foreigners with special merits and abilities who have been invited to the country for specific temporary activities

  • The crew of a movie or TV show to be shot in the country

  • Reporters who come to the country to cover an event or person

  • Artists who will be performing in the country for a limited time

Alien Employment Permit

An Alien Employment Permit (AEP) is required for foreign nationals who want to work in the Philippines for more than 6 months. It is granted only if it can be established that the job requires skills thatare not available locally.

Here are some details about the AEP:

  • Application for one may be done personally by the foreign worker or by the company petitioning for his services

  • Application has to be filed with the Department of Labor and Employment office with jurisdiction over the area where the foreign national will principally be assigned

  • An AEP has an initial validity of one to five years, renewable for another five years

  • The AEP is a prerequisite for a working visa, such as a 9(g) or 9(d) visa

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