Both the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) released advisories on the implication of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) on working permits and visa applications.
ON ALIEN EMPLOYMENT PERMITS (AEP)
The DOLE NCR released an announcement as early as March 17 on the suspension of its office in view of the Luzon-wide ECQ, thus it was assumed that all AEP-related process is suspended.
To further address concerns of AEP applicants and holders, the said office released Advisory No. 20-04 which states the following:
- AEP holders whose permits expired or shall expire during the ECQ shall be allowed to renew their AEP without penalty once the suspension period has been lifted.
- New AEP applications of applicants whose contracts are effective during the suspension period shall be allowed to apply once the suspension period has been lifted. The DOLE NCR shall not impose penalty on such applications even if the fifteen (15) days grace period has already lapsed.
ON WORKING AND TOURIST VISAS
Filed Working Visa Applications
The BI Commissioner approved the Note With Recommendation dated March 19, 2020 suspending the Board of Commissioners (BOC) agenda for the entire period of the ECQ. Approval or dismissal of working visas under section 9G & 9D are done during the BOC agenda. Thus, all filed applications are currently on hold.
Visas Expired During the ECQ Period
In the BI’s Press Release dated March 20, 2020 (based on BI website), Commissioner Jaime Morente stated that all foreign nationals whose visas expired during the ECQ shall be allowed to extend san penalty, provided that the extension would be filed within thirty (30) days from the lifting of the quarantine period.
ON OTHER IMMIGRATION-RELATED TRANSACTIONS
Below transactions are suspended as stated in the BI’s Advisory dated March 19, 2020:
- Conversion to/extension of Non-Immigrant/Immigrant Visa, including hearing/interview;
- Retention/Re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship under R.A. 9225, including hearing/interview;
- Visa downgrading;
- Tourist visa extension;
- Work permit applications (SWP/PWP);
- ACR I-Card renewal; and
- Visa implementation of BOC approved visas