Before a work visa such as 9g visa and 47a2 work visa application can be filed with the Philippine Bureau of Immigration, a foreign hire must first secure a valid Alien Employment Permit (AEP) card. The AEP application is being filed with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) particularly in the regional field office that has jurisdiction over the principal place of business of the hiring company. This is the first phase of a work visa process flow. The approval includes labor market test with the publication of the applicant foreign employee’s position/title and petitioner’s information to ensure that the expertise and credentials of the foreign national cannot be found in the local labor market. Stated otherwise, there is no local talent who is willing and able to perform the role for which the foreign national is hired.
On June 15, 2020, DOLE introduced the AEP Online Filing Services in accordance with DOLE NCR Advisory No. 07-20. This is in compliance with the mandate of the Covid19 task force to discourage face-to-face meetings between the DOLE officers and transacting public thereby reducing the risk of exposure to the Covid19 virus. With the online filing, a company is required to register by indicating its company details such as: company address, nature of business, company registration number and contact details of authorized representative(s).
After the company registration details are encoded in the online filing system, the DOLE will notify the company through email that the registration has been completed along with the issuance of the Establishment Registration Number (ERN) and it may now upload the documentary requirements for the AEP application of the foreign employee. Only application with complete documentary requirements can be uploaded in the DOLE’s online portal. It takes usually at least seven (7) working days for DOLE to process the AEP application.
If the AEP application is approved, the AEP card will be sent to the authorized representative of the petitioner company through the official partner courier of DOLE.
With the government agencies’ harmonized and intensified goal to eradicate cases of foreign nationals who are working without valid work permit, foreign individuals who are interested in working in the Philippines and establishments that intend to hire foreign talents are enjoined to strictly comply with labor and immigration laws, rules, and regulations pertaining to foreign employment.