Work Visas and Work Permits in the Philippines: A Guide For Employers

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In the Philippines, employers typically breeze through the right-to-work checks when it comes to local job applicants. After all, Filipino citizens have no work permit requirements and often only need to show proof of identity, like their birth certificate and passport. However, when it comes to hiring foreign employees, work permits become a paramount concern for employers as it is their responsibility to make sure that they are not hiring illegally. Here’s an expert guide on the types of work permits along with their requirements, application process, and fees. 

Work Permit and Visas in the Philippines: An Overview

Foreign nationals seeking employment in the Philippines need to secure both a work permit and work visa.  

Work Permit 

A work permit, also known as an Alien Employment Permit (AEP), is a document issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) that allows foreign nationals to work in the Philippines. It is specific to the employer and job position, and changing employers or job positions may require obtaining a new work permit. 

Note that foreign employees need to secure the AEP first before they can have a valid work visa in the Philippines. 

Work Visa

A work visa allows foreign nationals to enter and stay in the Philippines for the purpose of employment. It specifies the type of employment or work the foreign national is allowed to engage in while in the Philippines. Work visas are usually valid for a specific duration and may require renewal to continue working legally in the country.

The Bureau of Immigration, the Philippine government body responsible for ensuring that all foreign nationals in the country comply with the law, issues an employment visa.


Types of Work Permits and Work Visas in the Philippines 

While there are several types of visas and permits to engage in lawful employment and business in the Philippines, below are the most common ones:

The Alien Employment Permit (AEP)

The Alien Employment Permit is just one of the requirements to obtain a work visa from the Bureau of Immigration. As per the law, all foreign nationals who want to engage in employment in the Philippines must obtain it. There are, of course, some exemptions and exclusions (diplomats, consultants, etc.). 

Requirements and Application

Filing and processing of AEP happens in the Regional DOLE Office of Field Office that has the jurisdiction over the place of work. To apply, the candidate must submit the following:

  • Photocopy of Passport with visa, or Certificate of Recognition for Refugees or Stateless Persons
  • Original copy of notarised appointment or contract of employment detailing duties, responsibilities, annual salary, and benefits of the foreign national
  • Photocopy of Mayor’s Permit for business operation (or Certification from PEZA/Ecozone Authority for companies within economic zones; or photocopy of licence from PCAB or DO 18-A Registration for construction companies)
  • Copy of employer’s understudy training program outlining knowledge and/or skills transfer to Filipino workers

Note that depending on the nature of the work, the candidate may also need to secure other permits. They may need to obtain a Special Temporary Permit (STP) from the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) if they are to practise a profession. If they work in a nationalised or partially-nationalised industry, they may need an Authority to Employ an Alien from the Department of Justice (DOJ). 


The Alien Employment Permit (AEP) is valid for the specific position and company it was issued for. Its validity is typically one (1) year, but can be extended up to three (3) years if specified in the employment contract or other engagement agreements.


Pre-arranged Employment Visa (9G) 

Pre-arranged Employment visa is the most common type of visa for foreigners who seek to engage in lawful employment in the Philippines. It allows your foreign employees multiple-entry to the country while they are under your employment. 


  • Joint letter request to the Commissioner from applicant and petitioner
  • Duly accomplished CGAF for Non-Immigrant Visa
  • Photocopy of passport bio-page and latest admission with valid authorised stay
  • Photocopy of Employment Contract, Secretary’s Certificate of Election, Appointment, or Assignment of Applicant, with detailed compensation, duration, and description of position
  • Photocopy of petitioner’s latest Income Tax Return (ITR) with proof of payment
  • Photocopy of Alien Employment Permit (AEP) issued by DOLE, along with publication proof or Certificate of Publication
  • Notarised certification of foreign and Filipino employees from petitioning company
  • Special Temporary Permit for regulated professions under PRC, if applicable
  • Bureau of Immigration (BI) Clearance Certificate
  • Original or certified true copy of Bureau of Quarantine Medical Clearance, for nationals of specific countries arriving in the Philippines on or after June 2014
  • Photocopies of documents from the employing company 

You can find a more detailed list of requirements here


Applications can be processed in the main office of BI or other immigration offices and may take a few months. The process generally includes submitting the documents, paying the fees, attending the hearing, capturing of biometrics, visa implementation, and receiving the Alien Registration Division (ARD) Card. For more information on Pre-arranged Employment Visa, you may proceed here

Provisional Work Permit 

For foreign employees who need to work while their Pre-arranged Employment Visa is still pending, they have the option to secure a Provisional Work Permit. The fees for this permit is higher, but can be obtained faster. 

Requirements and Application

The documentary requirements are almost similar to the requirements for a 9G visa. For a complete list, you may precede here

The process, however, is faster and simpler. In the Bureau of Immigration Main Office, submit the requirements, pay the fees, and get the approved Provisional Work Permit. 

For more information on PWP, you may proceed here

Special Work Permit 

If employers wish to hire foreign nationals for a short period (3 to 6 months), they need to obtain the Special Work Permit issued by the Bureau of Immigration. 


The foreign national has to submit the following:

  • Letter-request addressed to the Commissioner from the Petitioning company
  • Duly accomplished Consolidated General Application (CGAF) (BI Form CGAF-002-Rev 3)
  • Photocopy of applicant’s passport bio-page, entry visa (if applicable), latest admission, and updated temporary visitor’s visa/valid authorised stay
  • Duly acknowledged Contract of Service, Secretary’s Certificate of Election, Appointment, Assignment, Secondment, or Deployment of applicant, or equivalent document indicating duration of service, compensation, benefits, and duties scope
  • Additional documentary requirements depending on the nature of employment (consultant position or regulated profession)
  • Photocopy of applicant’s Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN) card or proof of TIN 
  • BI Clearance Certificate

Note that there are also documentary requirements for the petitioning company. The complete list of documents required can be found here


Processing happens in the main office of BI or other immigration offices. The process generally includes submission of documents, paying the fees, getting the SWP approved, attending the hearing, and capturing of biometrics (if with a card). 

Learn more about SWP here


Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor Visa (9D) 

This visa is for foreign nationals from the United States of America (USA), Japan, and Germany entering the Philippines solely for trade or commerce under existing treaties. Likewise, it is for foreigners entering to develop and direct operations of an enterprise in the Philippines.


  • Letter request addressed to the Commissioner from the applicant and/or the petitioner
  • Duly accomplished CGAF for Non-Immigrant Visa
  • Photocopy of the applicant’s passport bio-page and latest admission with valid authorised stay
  • Photocopy of petitioner’s latest Income Tax Return (ITR) with corresponding proof of payment
  • Duly acknowledged Employment Contract, Secretary’s Certificate of Election, Appointment, Assignment, Secondment or Deployment of applicant, or equivalent document indicating duration of employment, compensation, benefits, and scope of duties
  • Board Resolution if signatories of the letter of application and employment contract differ from those in the Articles of Incorporation and latest GIS
  • BI Clearance Certificate
  • Original or certified true copy of Bureau of Quarantine Medical Clearance, if applicant is from specified countries arriving in the Philippines on or after June 2014.
  • Photocopies of documents from the employing company depending on whether they are sole proprietor or corporation/partnerships. 


Applications are held at the main BI office or other immigration offices. The process consists of submission of documents, paying the fees, attending the hearing, capturing of biometric data, and claiming the card. 

For more information on Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor visa, head  here

Risks and Implications of Illegal Employment in the Philippines

Employers and foreign nationals who work without the necessary permit and visa can be held legally liable. Here are some of the risks and implications of illegal employment in the Philippines:

  • Working without a valid Alien Employment Permit (AEP) can result in a fine of ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) per year or fraction thereof. Likewise, employers who hire foreign nationals without a valid AEP will also incur a fine of ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) per year or fraction thereof.
  • A foreign national engaging in employment without a valid work visa in the Philippines will be deported AFTER paying the fine and/or being imprisoned for 3 months to 3 years. 
  • Working illegally can also place foreign nationals into the Bureau of Immigration’s blacklist. 

Employers will also be legally responsible for hiring foreigners without a valid work permit. On top of the fine of P10,000 per illegal worker, the DOLE may also decide to suspend the companies

The Importance of Background Screening for Work Visas and Work Permits in PH

While background check results are not one of the requirements to obtain work visas and permits in the Philippines, vetting the foreign employee should still be the organisation’s priority to avoid legal problems and streamline the process of application. 

For one, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) can deny the application for Alien Employment Permit if the foreign national:

  • Misrepresented facts 
  • Submitted falsified documents 
  • Has been convicted of a crime in the Philippines or abroad 
  • Had a record of grave misconduct in dealing with or ill-treatment of workers 

For the same offences, the DOLE may also cancel the approved AEP

Furthermore, when it comes to visa applications, one of the requirements is the Bureau of Immigration Clearance Certificate. This is a document certifying that the individual is not in any derogatory database, list or record of the Bureau. In essence, possessing the background check results of the foreign national can streamline the process of obtaining this certificate.

However, please remember to conduct the background checks in accordance with the laws and regulations in the Philippines, particularly the Data Privacy Act

Conduct The Necessary Checks with Veremark

To streamline the process of securing the work permit and visa for your foreign employees, consider partnering with a third-party background screening provider, like Veremark. 

Veremark not only has the capacity to expertly conduct comprehensive checks in full accordance with the Philippine law, but our system is also 100% automated and can be easily integrated into your existing workflow. 

With 24/7 customer support and no long-term contracts, you can order only the checks you need - from identity checks to criminal records verification. Here’s our updated prices

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What’s the difference between a work permit and work visa in the Philippines?

The difference lies in their purpose: the Alien Employment Permit is specific to the company employing the foreign national and their role, and should be secured before getting the work visa, which permits entry and stay for employment purposes.

What are the types of work visas and permits in the Philippines?

Types include the 9(g) Pre-Arranged Employment Visa, the 9(d) Treaty Trader/Investor Visa, and the Alien Employment Permit (AEP), among others.

What are the risks and implications of hiring foreign nationals illegally?

Risks include fines, deportation of foreign workers, employer blacklisting, and potential legal proceedings, including criminal charges.


What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

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Creating an Efficient Recruiting Process

The beginning of the human resource field can be traced to the industrial revolution in the 19th century that transformed economies from ones based on agriculture into economies based on mechanised manufacturing, large-scale industry, and factory systems. The dawn of the industrial age led to the creation of industrial centres and factories characterised by large numbers of people coming to a place of work.

The idea of the human resource function was built on a simple idea by Robert Owen and Charles Babbage, who believed that people were crucial for the success of an organisation. As the organised business grew and the importance of people’s contribution to its success became evident, the organisation started focussing on their recruitment process to get the best people employed.

The emergence of the information age further amplified the importance of people in the success of businesses. The competition to recruit the best people intensifies as demand for talent continues, given the accelerated pace of digital transformation and business automation. The great resignation wave has altered the talent landscape, with companies taking longer to fill the open positions. Companies must become increasingly creative to overcome the challenge of scarce talent due to this new dangerous current.

In this context, an effective recruitment process becomes crucial for the companies in order to sustain the pipeline of specialised, qualified, skilled, and motivated employees for the organisation.

In this report, we discuss:

- What are the core elements of an efficient recruitment process?

- Recruitment marketing

- Expand the scope of candidate search

- Create exceptional candidate experience

- Effective employee referral programme

- Effective candidate evaluation

- Data security, compliance, and reporting

- Maximise automation

- Hiring team collaboration

- How to leverage an efficient recruitment process

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