What has changed
Effective immediately, employees of companies registered with the Board of Investments (BOI) filing their initial Work Permit application to the One Stop Service Center (OSSC), i.e. first time applicants, must first obtain their Work Permit booklet from the Employment Department Section before obtaining a queue number in-person to file their long-term visa application at the Immigration Section. This change will delay the current process.
This process change was initially introduced on December 13, 2016, however, then subsequently withdrawn within three (3) days. The authorities have now re-instated this policy, effective January 9, 2017.
Previously, expatriate employees applying for a Work Permit under the BOI process could obtain a Work Permit booklet and long-term visa simultaneously. The process could be completed within three (3) to four (4) hours, depending on the volume of applicants each day.
Who is affected?
- Employees of companies registered with the BOI filing their initial Work Permit applications
What to expect
As a result of the new policy, obtaining a new Work Permit under the BOI and a long-term visa in the same process will now require two (2) personal appearances for the principal employee. This can be done either in one (1) day (which can take up to seven (7) hours) or on separate days (which can take can up to four (4) hours per day). The long-term visa application must be made within fifteen (15) calendar days of the issuance of the Final Candidate Nomination Approval Letter from the BOI.
The OSSC implemented this change because initial BOI Work Permit applicants were obtaining their long- term visas before or without properly first obtaining their Work Permit booklet. As a result, the OSSC now requires strict verification that a Work Permit booklet has been issued before a long-term visa can be granted.
Employers should expect delays when submitting Work Permit and long-term visa applications. Employees and family members, i.e. applicants, must be aware of the delays in the process and that they may need to be present at the OSSC for an extended amount of time, or make multiple visits, in order to conclude the process. The employee must be present at the Employment Section of OSSC to sign the work permit booklet, then meet with the Immigration Office at Visa Section of OSSC to obtain the queue number and stay until the visa process is completed.
What you need to do
- In order to make the OSSC application process as seamless as possible, Emigra Worldwide’s local representative shall be present and available at OSSC to assist the applicants with the entire process at both the Employment Section as well as the Visa section. However, applicants need to be aware of the longer waiting times as the physical presence of all applicants is mandatory.
- Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.
The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.