Bureau of Immigration sets stricter work permit requirements for foreigners

Aika Rey

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Bureau of Immigration sets stricter work permit requirements for foreigners

MIAA Media Affairs

The Bureau of Immigration says it will not grant work permits to foreigners seeking blue-collar jobs to ensure that they don't 'take away jobs' from Filipino workers

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Wednesday, February 6, that it has imposed stricter requirements and procedures in issuing work permits to foreigners, to protect local workers.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement that “no work permit will be issued” to foreign applicants seeking employment in blue-collar jobs, citing job positions for construction workers, cashiers, janitors, and carpenters. 

Foreigners whose professions are regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission will also have to seek approval from the PRC, he said.

“These new rules are meant to protect the interest of local workers. As we have observed that in the past, foreigners may abuse their permits and take away jobs from our kababayans (countrymen),” Morente said.

The new rules will cover the provisional work permit (PWP) and the special work permit (SWP)  issued by the BI.

A PWP is issued to a foreigner who already has an alien employment permit (AEP) and has a pending work visa application, while an SWP allows foreigners with tourist visas to work for short-term contracts or for 6 months or less.

The BI said that there will be additional requirements to be submitted when processing permit applications:

  • Validity of stay as tourists
  • Address, existence, nature of business
  • Financial viability of petitioning company
  • Security and Exchange Commission and other government licenses to operate

“This is to ensure that these work permits are issued only to aliens whose jobs could not be performed by Filipinos,” Morente said.

This came after senators raised concern over the supposed surge in foreign workers in the country. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier claimed that there were over 400,000 foreign workers in Metro Manila alone.

In 2018, BI issued some 119,000 work permits to foreigners.

Under the law, work permits can only be issued to foreigners if no Filipinos are able and willing to do the job being appled for.

An AEP is a requirement for applying for a work visa in the Philippines, but economic zones can also issue a worker’s visa which is equivalent to an AEP. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.