The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Immigration (BI), and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) released the much-awaited Joint Guidelines No. 1 Series of 2019 via publication on major newspapers of general circulation last July 1, 2019. The said Joint Guidelines focuses on the Issuance of Work and Employment Permits to foreign nationals.


The BI announced that they will impose stricter rules on working permits for foreign nationals last May 1, 2019. That same day, the DOLE, DOJ, BI, and BIR representatives signed the Joint Guidelines which aims to “harmonize” policies related to issuance of working permits to foreigners.

Possible Impact on Employers and Applicants

  • Petitioner companies must ensure proper declaration of the foreign national’s income and filing of necessary tax

Section 3b of the joint guidelines states that the BI will share data of working permits filed to the DOLE and the BIR. Thus, both agencies can cross-check the data in the work permit application and the actual data disclosed by the petitioner companies to the said government agencies.

  • Additional step leads to longer work permit application process

The BIR shall issue Tax Identification Number (TIN) to foreign nationals applying for Special Work Permit (SWP), Alien Employment Permit (AEP) or Provisional Work Permit as per Section 3d of the joint guidelines.

The DOLE brought back the TIN requirement for AEP applications last May 31, 2019 as per Advisory No. 04-19. Guidelines on securing TIN for work/employment permit purposes are stated in the BIR’s Revenue Memorandum Order 28-2019. On June 27, 2019 the BI released Operations Order No. JHM-2019-008 stating that proof of TIN shall be required for both SWP and PWP.

In short, proof of TIN is now required for all working/employment permits for foreign nationals.

  • Foreign nationals cannot take just any job in the Philippines even for short-term engagements

Section 4 itemized the activities wherein the BI may issue SWP for:

  1. Professional athletes, coaches, trainers and assistants;
  2. International performers with exceptional abilities;
  3. Artists, performers and their staff, who perform before an audience for a fee, subject to compliance with the requirements of the concerned agency, office or body;
  4. Service suppliers coming primarily to perform temporary services and who do not receive salary or other remuneration from a Philippine source other than expenses incidental to their temporary stay;
  5. Treasure hunters authorized to search for hidden treasure with permit from the concerned government agencies and instrumentalities;
  6. Movies and television crews authorized to film in the country by the relevant regulatory office, body or agency;
  7. Foreign journalists practicing their profession or covering a specific event in the country;
  8. Trainee/s assigned in government institutions, government owned and controlled corporations (GOCC), and private entities;
  9. Lecturers, researchers, trainees and others pursuing academic work who are assigned in schools, universities, education and research institutions, government agencies and other entities (with or without compensation);
  10. Religious missionaries and preachers;
  11. Commercial models and talents;
  12. Culinary specialists/Chefs;
  13. Professionals*; and
  14. Consultants or specialists.

*Foreign nationals who intend to practice a profession regulated by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), should secure a Special Temporary Permit (STP) prior to applying for any work/employment permit.

  • Foreign nationals with SWPs may only work in the Philippines for a maximum period of six (6) months. They are not allowed to renew the SWP beyond that period.

Foreign nationals may be granted SWP with an initial validity of three (3) months. They may apply for SWP extension valid for another three (3) months should their services are required longer but they cannot apply for a second SWP extension anymore.

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Copyright 2019. Avenida & Diaz Law Office.
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