Baguio City – The influx of South Koreans in the Philippines generates a host of questions, most of which remain unanswered. Some Koreans come to the Philippines for vacation, for study, employment, and business, and other purposes and some choose to stay preferably in Baguio City and the Cordilleras longer than the others.

Since 2006, South Koreans ranked first among the foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines, over-ranking the visitors count from the USA, Japan, China, and Australia, among others. After 11 years, the data for the foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines show that the Korean market consistently provides the biggest number of incoming foreigners in the country with more than 1.6 million arrivals or 25% of the total foreign arrivals in the Philippines (Department of Tourism (DOT), 2018).

In December 2017, Korea is also recorded to be the top foreign spending market in the Philippines with receipts amounting to P 4.30 billion, overtaking the US market with total spending of P3.60 billion (DOT, 2017). Alongside the influx of Korean tourists in the country is the modest increase in the number of Koreans taking business ventures, employment, education, residency, and retirement. This trend suggests that the Philippines is becoming a preferred venue for Koreans, not only for tourism, but also for their second home.

Baguio City is ranked number 4 in the country where Korean migrants are located for different purposes such as retirement, employment and residency. Cebu hosts the largest number of Korean migrants in the Philippines followed by the National Capital Region (NCR) which hosts the largest number of employed Koreans in the country and Pampanga is ranked number 3.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office in the Cordilleras has issued an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) to thirty four (34) Koreans in Baguio City. Recently, an agreement between South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-Man and DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III for the setting up of Korean Assistance Desk (KAD) in the following regions namely the National Capital Region (NCR), Central Luzon Region (Region 3), Calabarzon Region (Region 4a), Central Visayas Region (Region 7), Davao Region (Region 11) and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

For CAR, the Korean Help Desk with DOLE officers is composed of DOLE-CAR Assistant Regional Director Jesus Elpisio B. Atal, Jr., Baguio-Benguet Field Office Head Emerito A. Narag and DOLE-CAR Technical Services and Support Division (TSSD) Senior Labor and Employment Officer Teddy A. Sy, all with office address at DOLE-CAR Building, Cabinet Hill, Baguio City. The Korean Help Desk with Korean officers composes Tae Hyeok Kim, Vice President of the United Korean Community Association (UKCA) in Northern Luzon-Philippines with office address at 2nd Floor Café Will Building, 11 M.H. Del Pilar St, Brgy. Burnham – Legarda, Baguio City, Sang Hoon Jang, Vice President of Korean Association in Baguio City with office address at Unit 11, Building 3, Nevada Square, Loakan Road, Baguio City and Police Superintendent Jiwon Jung of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea with office address at Korean Desk Baguio, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-CAR), CBAO Building, DPS Compound, Utility Road, Baguio City

The AEP is a document issued by the DOLE through its Regional Offices as a requirement for a foreign national intending to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines with an employer-employee relationship. AEP is also issued to foreign nationals allowed by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to practice profession in the Philippines and also AEP is a required to those holders of Special Investors Resident Visa (SIRV), Special Retirees Resident Visa (SRRV), Treaty Traders Visa (9d) or Special Non-Immigrant Visa (47 a 2 who occupy any executive, advisory, supervisory, or technical position in any establishment.

Foreign nationals exempted from securing AEP include the following categories as follows: Members of the diplomatic services and foreign government officials accredited by the Philippine government; Officers and staff of international organizations of which the Philippine government is a cooperating member, and their legitimate spouses desiring to work in the Philippines; Foreign nationals elected as members of the Governing Board who do not occupy any other position, but have only voting rights in the corporation; All foreign nationals granted exemption by special laws and all other laws that may be promulgated by the Congress; Owners and representatives of foreign principals, whose companies are accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), who come to the Philippines for a limited period solely for the purpose of interviewing Filipino applicants for employment abroad; Foreign nationals who come to the Philippines to teach, present and/or conduct research studies in universities and colleges as visiting, exchange or adjunct professors under formal agreements between the universities or colleges in the Philippines and foreign universities or colleges; or between the Philippine government and foreign government; provided that the exemption is on a reciprocal basis; and Resident foreign nationals and temporary or probationary resident visa holders employed or seeking employment in the Philippines.; permanent resident foreign nationals and probationary or temporary resident visa holders under Section 13 (a-f) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 and Section 3 of the Alien Social Integration Act of 1995 (Republic Act 7919); refugees and stateless persons recognized by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and foreign nationals granted exemption by law (Republic Act 8756, Section 5 Article 60 paragraph 1; Presidential Decree 732 Section 2 ( c ) and Presidential Decree 1590 Section 18.

For more information on Alien Employment Permit (AEP) visit and

END/Patrick T Rillorta