Expats planning to work in the Philippines can look forward to a nice work atmosphere if they secure the necessary papers for doing so. That’s the priority. Always, making everything legit is the key to a hassle-free life and employment for expats working in the Philippines. So, before anything else, make sure the visa and whatever work permits necessary are securely in hand.
Permit for Alien Workers
First, an Alien Employment Permit or AEP is needed. This vital document is procured from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). This government office issues AEP to foreign nationals to make their employment legit in the country. Application, by the way, can be done online via this link.
An AEP is good for only one year or terminates with the duration or period of employment but should also not exceed five years. Thus, if an expat needs to continue working here, he or she needs to be mindful about AEP expiration dates.
But securing an AEP alone is not cause for celebration—yet. More employment papers are needed to be issued a work visa (9G) for expats working in the Philippines. There is some good news, though. A system is reportedly being worked out so that fewer requirements are needed and the duration of processing papers are shortened. But this still remains to be seen.
Expats may opt for a Pre-Arranged Employee Visa, better known as the 9G Visa. It allows employers based in the Philippines to hire foreign nationals with the appropriate skills, experience and qualifications and which are in dire lack in the country. This working visa is good for about one, two or probably three years but can be further extended if the employee-employer contract so warrants.
But foreign nationals cannot simply apply directly for this visa without first securing employment in a locally based and legitimate company. Such company should petition for them and secure their Pre-Arranged Employee Visa. In a way, this is for the convenience of expats, freeing them from the hassles of paper works. On second thought, more delays may hound them if the company petitioning for them should prove lackadaisical. Sometimes, it’s quicker when you do things yourself.
For more about the application procedure and the requirements needed, visit this link: www.immigration.gov.ph.
Temporary Work Permit
In case a foreign national is urgently needed to work immediately in the country but his Pre-Arranged Employment Visa is still in process, he may be given a temporary work permit. The Bureau of Immigration issues this provisional work permit. With this, the expat can start working pronto and do so without legality problems for three months until a working visa is given.
Another working permit to help expats in the Philippines work legally is the Special Employment Permit. Simply put, this is given so expats can work legally in the country temporarily for three to six months.
Some AEP Exemptions
Do all foreigners have to apply for an AEP? There are some exemptions:
- Those working in diplomatic services as well as officials of foreign government accredited by our government.
- Those who work for international organizations of which our country is a member, plus their legal spouses who also desire to be expats working in the Philippines.
- Foreigners voted as members of a governing board in a legitimate corporation but who do not have any other position in it, except having voting rights.
- Foreigners given exemption through special laws and other laws promulgated by Congress.
- Representatives or owners of alien principals with companies accredited by our POEA or Philippine Overseas Employment Administration. They come here for limited periods just for interviewing Filipino applicants who want to work for them in their country of origin.
- Those who come to the country as teachers or researchers in local colleges or universities as exchange, visiting or adjunct professors under an agreement between the local schools and the schools abroad, or between their government and our government. The exemption should be reciprocal.
- Foreign nationals already living here as residents, including probationary ones already possessing a visa, either already working here or still seeking employment.
Given the famed hospitality of most Filipinos, expats are likely to get expat-friendly conditions in the workplace, especially in the provinces where merely being a foreigner makes for a celebrity. By nature, Filipinos warmly welcome visitors, especially if they are foreigners.
No wonder that in 2011 alone, more than 3 million foreigners, among them expats, were in the country. And some reports believe the number of expats working in the Philippines keeps rising.
The US Veteran Hospital in Manila alone reports that despite cuts in the budget for American veterans in the country, they still stay opt to stay here. And a lot more from abroad go here to settle down. This proves that foreigners are very welcome here (and that the cost of living is quite affordable) so that expats planning to work here can look forward to a comfy stay.