• Stricter Compliance Rules for Hiring Foreign Nationals Implemented
  • April 7, 2015
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • Employers of certain foreign nationals must comply with stricter rules in order to maintain their eligibility to hire foreign nationals. The new rules require employers hiring foreign employees under 9(g) visas to submit a new certification and those hiring foreign employees under 47(a)(2) visas that exceed the quota for foreign nationals to submit a request letter and other company information to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

    9(g) Visa Category Certification

    Employers of foreign nationals under 9(g) visas must submit a certification on the number of Filipino and foreign employees when filing a new 9(g) visa application with the Bureau of Immigration. Previously, this document was not required. The Bureau is strictly enforcing this requirement to ensure that the employment of foreign nationals will not affect Filipino workers.

    47(a)(2) Visa Category Requirements

    Employers operating as special ecozone enterprises under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), who seek to apply for 47(a)(2) visas in the National Capital Region but exceed the 5% foreign worker quota, must comply with a new list of document requirements in order to obtain a Certificate of No Objection. The issuance of the Certificate confirms the employer’s eligibility to hire foreign nationals.

    Under the PEZA law, such employers are required to limit the total number of foreign employees in supervisory, technical or advisory roles to 5% of their workforce, unless allowed by the DOLE. Previously, employers only needed to submit a letter to the DOLE requesting a Certificate of No Objection and no supporting documents were required.

    The new requirements are as follows:
    • Letter request addressed to the Regional Director with the following details:
    1. Nature of business of the company;
    2. Number of Filipino employees; and
    3. Number of foreign employees, their position, job description and nationality.
    • Name of foreign national (if known) whom the company intends to hire in excess of the 5% limit;
    • Justification for hiring foreign nationals;
    • PEZA Endorsement;
    • List of foreign and local employees and their positions (foreign nationals in executive positions must be included in the list of employees);
    • Proof of local recruitment efforts; and
    • PHIL-JobNet registration and proof of posting of job vacancies.
    Executives will remain exempt from these requirements.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Employers hiring foreign nationals in the 9(g) and 47(a)(2) visa categories subject to the new requirements should be sure to comply with the new rules, as they are being strictly enforced.

    Sponsors of 47(a)(2) visas seeking to obtain a Certificate of No Objection to exceed the 5% quota must now account for additional time to prepare the required documents. Those who do not obtain the certificate will not be able to apply for additional 47(a)(2) visas, but may instead apply for 9(g) visas which have longer processing times.