Related to the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said that all work permit applications for foreign nationals should go through DOLE first before approval by the BI.


As of this writing, work permits for foreign nationals are applied before the BI and it is the same office which provides resolution of said applications. Recently, the Philippine Senate probed on the recent influx of foreign workers without proper work permits while some were granted work permits despite submitting questionable requirements. Moreover, it was discovered that there are foreign nationals working in jobs involving manual labor (i.e. carpenter, welder, etc.)—jobs that can be done by Filipino workers.

The JMC signed last May 1, 2019 aims to regulate the issuance of work permits to foreign nationals and to ensure the Filipino workers will be prioritized especially for jobs involving manual labor.

Possible Impact

  • Additional step leads to longer work permit application process

It usually takes 5 to 7 business days to secure working permit. Obviously, if the application has to go through another office other than the BI, the processing time will get longer. Foreign nationals must wait for resolution of the permit application before they can report to work.

  • Possible additional cost to petitioner company

It is not yet clear if the DOLE participation in the work permit application would be for monitoring or evaluation process only. There are talks of requiring DOLE certification first before an applicant may apply for working permit at the BI, which may involve additional government fees to paid by the petitioner company.

Future Updates on the Issue

Fernandolaw regularly coordinate with the involved government agencies for the latest policies involving work permit for foreign nationals. We will update this article should there will be any pertinent developments on this issue.

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Copyright 2019. Avenida & Diaz Law Office.
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