In time for Labor Day, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) released a press statement on May 1, 2019 that they will impose tighter rules on Work Permits in order to protect Filipino workers.

There was a growing sentiment against the marked influx of Chinese workers in the country who are allegedly taking jobs from local workers. The Senate slammed the BI for allegedly being lax in monitoring the surge of these foreign workers as most of these were issued Special Work Permits (SWP).1

The SWP is applied for foreign nationals who will engage on short-term employment in the Philippines. Foreign artists or athletes should also apply for SWP in order for them to perform here in the country.

Before the issue on Chinese workers came out, the only restriction on SWP is its duration. Companies may apply SWP for their expatriates regardless of the position.

After the hearing with the Senate’s Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, the BI imposed additional documents to the existing SWP requirements and prohibited the issuance of SWP for blue collar workers (e.g. janitor, carpenter, cashier, etc.) as Filipino workers can fulfill such jobs.4

While the current requirements for SWP are pretty straightforward and reasonable, there are still foreign nationals who evade the law and work illegally in the country. The BI is stated that they are currently working with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and other government agencies to come up with additional work permit guidelines to further protect the Filipino workers.

1Senate of the Philippines. (2018). Villanueva slams agencies’ inaction, negligence in monitoring influx of illegal foreign workers[Press Release]. Retrieved from

2BI Checklist of Documentary Requirements for Special Work Permit (SWP) – Commercial

3BI Memorandum Circular No. AFF-05-001: Rules Governing the Issuance of Special Work Permit (SWP), Provision Permit to Work (PPW), and Pre-Arranged Employment Visa Under Section 9(G) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 (PIA), As Amended

4BI Operations Order No. JHM-2019-002: Supplemental Guidelines for Special Work Permit and Provisional Work Permit