PHILIPPINES – New Provisional Work Permit for 9(g) Work Visa Applicants, and Tougher Rules for Expired 47(a)(2) Visa Holders
The Philippines Bureau of Immigration has issued several Operation Orders, making significant changes to immigration procedures. As of 20 February 2014, applicants for the 9(g) Pre-arranged Employment Visa (Commercial) to the Philippines must now apply for a new Provisional Work Permit if they wish to start work before the issuance of the 9(g) visa, delaying their start of work date by two to three weeks. The Bureau of Immigration has also tightened the rules on expired 47(a)(2) visas, requiring holders to leave the country (rather than apply to change immigration status from within the country) when their work authorisation period has expired.
Provisional Work Permit
A foreign national who has submitted an application for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) at the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) but has not yet been issued a 9(g) visa from the Bureau of Immigration (BI), may not start work until they have obtained a Provisional Work Permit (PWP) from the BI. The provisional work permit is valid for three months or until a 9(g) visa is issued, whichever comes first. Previously, a submitted application for an AEP was recognised as a provisional work permit, allowing applicants to start work even before submitting their 9(g) visa application. The PWP application requires several documents to be submitted, including a completed Consolidated Application Form and a letter of request from the sponsoring company, undertaking to pay the applicant’s income tax, and guaranteeing that all documents submitted were legally obtained. The Operation Order SBM-NO.-2013-019, issued in December 2013, was finally implemented by the Bureau of Immigration in the week beginning 17 February 2014.
47(a)(2) Visa Holders
Operations Order No. SBM-2014-010 of 21 February 2014 states that foreign nationals who are holders of Section 47(a)(2) visas must not remain in the Philippines beyond the period of employment authorized by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Previously it was possible for foreign nationals in this situation to change visa status or “downgrade” to a 9(a) tourist visa upon the expiry of the 47(a)(2) visa. This is no longer possible without the foreign national first leaving the country.
Other Changes Expected
The Philippines Bureau of Immigration is expected to soon begin implementing a new checklist of documentary requirements for many visa applications, along with a consolidated general application form. Furthermore, changes are expected to the Tax Identification Number requirement for foreign nationals on home payroll. We are currently looking into these changes and will provide you with more details as soon as we can.
- Note the extended processing times and new documentary requirements for applicants needing to start work before obtaining a 9(g) work visa.
- Ensure that renewal applications are submitted in good time for any 47(a)(2) visa holders who need to stay in the country beyond their current work authorization period.
- Note that further changes to immigration rules and regulations are expected to be confirmed shortly. Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd will keep you informed.