10 May 2019
PHILIPPINES: Tighter Regulations Introduced for Temporary Permits for Non-Local Workers
In a bid to end any abuse of the country’s existing regulatory regime with regard to the provision of temporary work permits for overseas nationals, such Special Work Permits (SWP) will only be issuable across 15 designated employment categories. These include professional athletes, coaches and trainers; musical artistes and performers; television or movie crew; journalists; lecturers and researchers; commercial models; chefs; and consultants. Previously, any foreign national in possession of a tourist visa was eligible to apply for a SWP irrespective of the nature of their intended work.
A SWP allows a foreigner to temporarily work or provide services in the Philippines for a maximum period of six months. SWP holders, however, are forbidden from seeking long-term employment or from entering into any kind of formal contractual relationship with a Filipino or a Philippines-registered employer. Despite such stipulations, a number of SWP holders are thought to have been engaging in regular employment in the Philippines by exiting and re-entering the country every six months and obtaining an SWP upon each new entry.
The revised rules are also aimed at reserving unskilled and semi-skilled jobs for local Filipino nationals in the wake of an increase in the number of foreign workers employed, especially in the country’s growing online gaming industry. Following the introduction of these revised regulations, foreign nationals falling outside the 15 specified SWP categories will be required to apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) in order to be able to work in the country, which will only be issued in instances where no local worker has the required skills/competencies. Successful AEP applicants, sponsored by a Philippines-based employer, will be issued a 9 (G) Visa (Pre-Arranged Employment Visa) and then be permitted to work in the country on a long-term basis.