Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz has reminded Philippines-based companies hiring foreign workers to secure special work permits for them to avoid penalties and imprisonment.
“The Department is strictly enforcing the revised rules for the issuance of alien employment permits (AEPs), for which our regional offices have direct responsibility,” said Baldoz who has a standing directive to DOLE Regional Offices to strictly enforce the rules on the issuance of alien employment permit.
Article 40 of the Labor Code provides that any foreign national seeking admission to the Philippines for employment purposes and any domestic or foreign employer who desires to engage a foreign national for employment in the Philippines shall obtain an Alien Employment Permit from DOLE.
“The AEP is a permit issued to a non-resident alien or foreign national seeking admission to the Philippines for work after it has been determined that a competent and able Filipino citizen is unavailable or unwilling at the time of application to perform the services for which the alien is desired,” said Baldoz.
Under Department Order No. 120, Series of 2012, an AEP is required for foreign nationals who assume a new job position within their current organizations; transfer to a new position within related companies; or commence employment with a new company.
The documentary requirements for filing AEP are the following:
Duly accomplished application form;
Photocopy of passport with visa or Certificate of Recognition for refugees;
Contract of employment/appointment or Board Secretary’s Certificate of Election;
Photocopy of Mayor’s Permit to operate business or, in case of locators in economic zones, certificate attesting operation within the ecozone; and
Photocopy of current AEP (if not renewal).
Aside from the P8,000 fee for an AEP, the applicant shall also pay an AEP courier fee of P200 when using the AEP online application system. Modifying a foreign national’s AEP now requires a payment of P750 in order to replace his current AEP.
New and renewal applications for AEPs are issued within 24 working hours of publication and payment of required fees.
Based on AEP guidelines, DOLE regional directors are authorized to conduct ocular inspection to verify legitimacy of employment of foreign national and a verification inspection of the establishment employing foreign nationals within 30 days after issuance of the AEP.
Foreign nationals found to be working in the Philippines without a valid AEP will be fined P10,000 for every year of illegal work or fraction thereof; the organization that was illegally employing them will also be subject to a fine of P10,000 for every year of illegal employment or a fraction thereof.
AEP application is also subject to a publication requirement whereby the DOLE Regional Office will publish the AEP application within two days of receipt of the application. The general public will have 30 days from the time of publication to object to the new employment or job change of the foreign national.
The labor chief added that DOLE Regional Directors can deny an application for an AEP if the applicant has been convicted of a criminal offense or is a fugitive from justice.
DOLE regional directors may also motu proprio, or upon petition, cancel or revoke an AEP after due process based on meritorious objection or information against the employment of the foreign nationals. (Joel C. Atencio)