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PHILIPPINES - Changes in Rules for Special and Provisional Work Permits [UPDATED]

On 22 April 2019, the Department of Labor (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) released joint immigration guidelines, making some changes to the rules for the Special Work Permit (SWP) and Provisional Work Permit (PWP).

[UPDATE] The Bureau of Immigration has now implemented these changes also for applicants for Special Non-Immigrant 47(a)(2) visas who are sponsored by companies registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

Special Work Permit

The guidelines specify that the SWP can only be issued to foreign nationals working outside of an employment relationship (i.e. without an employment contract). Previously, the SWP could also be issued to foreign nationals working pursuant to an employment contract.

The guidelines also specify in more detail the activities which require an SWP:

Professional athletes, coaches, trainers and assistants; International performers with exceptional abilities; Artists, performers and their staff; Service suppliers (not paid by a Philippine-based company); Authorised treasure hunters; Authorised movie and television crew; Journalists; Interns; Trainee/s; Lecturers, researchers, trainers and other academics; Religious missionaries and preachers; Culinary specialists/Chefs; Professionals; and Consultants or experts.

Provisional Work Permit

The guidelines confirm that, as previously, the PWP can be issued to those working pursuant to an employment contract, to allow work pending issuance of the Alien Employment Permit (AEP) or 9(g) visa.

However, a new six-month cap has been placed on the validity of the PWP, and it is not renewable. If the AEP or 9(g) visa are not issued within this period, the foreign national is not authorised to work once the PWP has expired until the AEP or 9(g) visa are issued.

[UPDATE] The PWP, rather than the SWP as previously, will now also be issued to those applying for a Special Non-Immigrant 47(a)(2) visa.

Action Items

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact their Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

This alert was prepared with information provided by Follosco Morallos & Herce.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2019 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.