Philippines – New Requirements and Regulations for Special Work Permit and Provisional Work Permit

What has changed

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the Philippines has recently announced changes related to the requirements and implementation of the Special Work Permit (SWP) and Provisional Work Permit (PWP) to immediate effect. The SWP and PWP are both interim short-term work authorizations that are not visa-endorsed in passports and are issued in the format of a one (1) page approval letter.

Philippines authorities are tightening regulations for SWP/PWP implementation due to the increase in overall volume of applications and to prevent fraudulent applications. Below is a review of the new requirements and regulations.

Who is affected

Clients who have hired or intend to employ foreign workers in the Philippines.

What to expect

Requirements for Certification:

The sponsor company in the Philippines is required to submit a certification stating:

  • The request is the applicant’s first or extension of SWP application; and
  • The applicant will work only for the position applied for and for the said company.


BI Offices shall assess and verify the application to determine the following:

  • At least twenty (20) days validity of tourist visa at the time of application. However, we have noticed that the authorities are requesting Visitor Visa extension even for visa-waiver nationals having twenty (20) days plus validity before BI will accept the SWP application.
  • The existence of petitioning company and address of the company and applicant (residence);
  • Nature of business of the petitioning company as reflected in their Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Certificate and;
  • Determine whether the company has a valid, appropriate government-issued license to operate.


SWP or PWP applications will be denied for the following reasons:

  • Manual labor such as, but not limited to, (i) construction worker, (ii) cashier, (iii) waiter, (iv) janitor), (v) household help, (vi) carpenters, (vii) garbage collector, (viii) security guard, (ix) warehouse caretaker, and (x) other analogous labor;
  • Positions/professions classified as a regulated profession by the Professional Regulation Commission, unless accompanied by Special Temporary Permit i(STP)


Tracking and Monitoring of SWP/PWP:

All received applications shall be duly encoded in the Visa Application Information System (“VAIS”). The purpose of VAIS is to monitor and track the initial issued SWP or PWP, or the one time only extension permitted to ensure that foreign nationals apply for the appropriate long-term work visa should their assignment be further extended in the Philippines.

What you need to do

Companies need to ensure that they remain compliant and apply for the appropriate Work Visa/short-term permits based on case-specific background. Due to the additional requirements, companies need to plan accordingly for longer lead-times.

Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for assistance in developing the appropriate immigration strategy based on case background.

This alert was prepared with information provided by Newland Chase.