Baguio City – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is alarmed with the possibility of a significant number of illegal foreign nationals working inside the country, considering that it issued Alien Employment Permit (AEP) to only 115,000 foreigners and has directedregional officials to strictly enforce rules on the issuance of alien employment permit (AEP).

With the statement of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that there are around 400,000 foreigners working in Metro Manila alone, DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III instructed Regional Directors to strengthen its Alien Employment Permit (AEP) enforcement mechanism through inspections at workplace levels to check on the illegals, as well as validate the issuance of work permits to foreign workers.

The Labor Department in its AEP report to the Senate stated that there are only around 115,000 foreign workers with AEP issued by DOLE regional directors nationwide. There are other foreign nationals working might not have valid alien permits and with the instruction of the Secretary to the Regional Offices to check on the illegals and further validate the issuance of AEPs to the foreign workers and to further check the nature of their work, particularly in the field of expertise that can be done by a Filipino. The DOLE is not the only permit-issuing agency that allows foreign nationals to work in the country.

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.

Other agencies that issue working permit to foreign workers include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for geoscience and mining industry; the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) for the practice of regulated professions; the Department of Justice (DOJ) for nationalized or partially nationalized industries; and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for the pre-arranged employment visa or 9G.

Based on the latest data of the Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), there are 115,652 foreign nationals that were issued with AEP, of which 51,980 are Chinese, while 12, 177 Japanese and 11,780 Korean for a three-year period from 2015 to 2017. In Baguio City, there are fifty six (56) approved AEP from January to August 2018.

An Alien Employment Permit is a document issued by the Department of Labor and Employment which authorizes a foreign national to work in the Philippines. Foreign nationals are required to apply for an AEP for all foreign nationals who intend to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines; Foreign professionals who are allowed to practice their profession in the Philippines under reciprocity and other international agreements and in consultancy services pursuant to Section 7(j) of the PRC Modernization Act of 2000.

Foreign nationals required to apply for an AEP also include aliens who are holders of Special Investors Resident Visa (SIRV), Special Retirees Resident Visa (SRRV), Treaty Traders Visa (9d) or Special Non-Immigrant Visa (47(a)2) for as long as they 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.

For more information on the application for Alien Employment Permit (AEP), call us at 443-5339, 443-5338 or email us at

END/Patrick T Rillorta