PH gov’t to tighten rules on work permits

A Chinese worker is seen at the construction site of the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge in Manila. The project is funded by loans from the Chinese government.
| photo by Russell Palma

The Bureau of Immigration on Wednesday, May 1, announced that the government will tighten rules on issuing work permits for foreigners “to ensure that jobs that can be done by Filipinos will not be given to foreigners.”

In a BI press release, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that the joint guidelines on the issuance of work and employment permits to foreign nationals have been signed by the bureau, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Justice.

“We saw a rise in the number of foreign nationals in the previous years due to emerging industries such as the online gaming industry,” Morente said, in reference to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, where 138,001 foreign nationals are employed, according to data released by DOLE and BI.

“Issues and challenges only appear now. This has never been a problem in the past because of the relatively smaller number of foreign nationals working in the Philippines then,” he added.

In 2018, BI issued 83,670 special work permits which were valid for six months and allow foreigners to “render service” while on a tourist visa. Meanwhile, DOLE issued 54,241 Alien Employment Permits — which are a requirement for 9(g) visas, a visa “for aliens employed in the country, with contracts usually lasting for one to three years.”

BI said it will also require the alien applicant to show proof of tax payments.

According to Morente, the new rules will not make it difficult for foreigners working or doing business in the Philippines to follow.

“We have made it easier for foreign nationals to comply with our laws,” he said.

“The procedures are simple, the process is now quicker, so there’s really no excuse for foreign nationals to not follow,” he added.

Numerous concerns have been raised due to the influx of foreign workers in the Philippines. A data released by BI revealed that a total of 2.44 million Chinese arrived in the Philippines from mainland China between January 2016 to May 2018.

The influx, then, caused residential rental rates in the areas near Manila Bay to surge by 62.2 during the first half of 2018, property firm Santos Knight Frank noted. 

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at

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