|February 26, 2014|
Previously published on February 25, 2014
Foreign nationals applying for the 9(g) Pre-arranged Employment Visa are no longer permitted to begin working in the Philippines upon the filing of an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) application. They must now obtain a Provisional Work Permit (PWP) if they intend to work while the AEP application is pending.
Previously, foreign nationals could begin working as soon as the AEP application - the first step in obtaining a 9(g) visa - was submitted to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
The PWP is currently required only for foreign nationals obtaining 9(g) visas and not for any other visa category. Applicants for 9(g) visas with pending AEP or 9(g) visa applications who are already working in the Philippines must also obtain a PWP.
Currently, PWP applications are accepted and processed by the Bureau of Immigration’s main office in Manila only. Sponsoring employers can apply for the PWP after they have submitted the foreign employee’s AEP application with the DOLE. The PWP application must include a copy of the official DOLE receipt for the AEP application (or a copy of the AEP card, if one was already issued), proof that the applicant has secured a Philippine Taxpayer Identification Number, and other documents and information. Employers are required to state in their letter-request to the Bureau that they will withhold and remit any Philippine taxes that are due on the applicant’s income.
The PWP is valid for three months and will be automatically cancelled by the issuance of the 9(g) employment visa.
The Bureau of Immigration first announced plans to implement the PWP in December 2013 but put the implementation on hold until last week. The new policy follows observations from the Bureau that some foreign nationals had abused the previous policy by not obtaining a 9(g) visa after they obtained their AEP.
The Bureau is expected to issue additional information about the PWP requirement in the coming weeks. A further update will follow once this information becomes available and is confirmed.
What This Means for Employers
The new permit creates additional undertakings and document requirements for 9(g) visa sponsors. Employers should allocate more time and planning towards 9(g) visa sponsorships, as these employees are now no longer able to start working until the PWP is issued. PWP applications are processed in approximately two weeks from filing.