Published 30 August 2019, The Daily Tribune

In a globalized world where not only commodities are exchanged but also human resource and skill, each country is better off in utilizing a skill set that may not be readily available from the domestic labor market. In the Philippines, this should be balanced with the commitment to the preferential use of Filipino labor across industries. In light of the state’s policy in regulating the employment of aliens in the Philippines, our laws require foreign nationals to secure a license denominated as Alien Employment Permit or AEP.

As to coverage, all foreign nationals who intend to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines are required to secure an AEP. The term “gainful employment” means that there is an employer-employee relationship which will be created between the Philippine-based employer and the foreign national.

By virtue of their work or circumstance, some foreign nationals are not required to have an AEP. The exemption is very specific and applies to persons in the diplomatic service, officers and staff of international organizations of which the Philippine government is a member such as the United Nations or World Health Organization, and their legitimate spouses; owners and representatives of foreign principals whose companies are accredited by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) under certain conditions; those who come to teach, present and/or conduct research studies in universities and colleges as visiting, exchange or adjunct professors under formal agreements between the foreign and local universities or the government; permanent resident foreign nationals and probationary or temporary resident visa holders under Section 13(a-f) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 covering Immigrants and Section 3 of the Alien Social Integration Act of 1995 (RA 7917); refugees and Stateless Persons recognized by DOJ pursuant to Article 17 of the UN Convention and Protocol Relating to status of Refugees and Stateless Persons; and those granted exemption by law. These exemptions are usually subject to reciprocity such that the same privilege should be available to Filipinos visiting or working in the other country.

Meanwhile, some foreign nationals are not required to get an AEP but will have to secure a certificate of exclusion from the DOLE. The exclusion usually applies to members of the governing board with voting rights only and do not intervene in the management of the corporation or in the day to day operation of the enterprise; corporate officers as provided under the Corporation Code, Articles of Incorporation, and By-Laws of the Corporation such as President, Secretary and Treasurer; those providing consultancy services who do not have employers in the Philippines; intra corporate transferee who is a manager, executive or specialist in accordance with Trade Agreements and an employee of the foreign service supplier for at least one year prior to deployment to a branch, subsidiary, affiliate, or representative office in the Philippines; and a Contractual service supplier who is a manager, executive, or specialist and an employee of a foreign service supplier which has no commercial presence in the Philippines under certain conditions.

Requirements for Issuance of AEP

a. Letter-request addressed to the DOLE Regional Director
b. Duly accomplished application form
c. 2×2 ID picture
d. Photocopy of passport (bio-page) with valid visa. Original passport of the foreign national must also be presented to DOLE for verification.
e. Original notarized appointment or contract of employment enumerating the following:
i. Position/Designation;
ii. Term of Employment;
iii. Duties and responsibilities;
iv. Annual Salary; and
v. Other benefits and entitlements.
f. Certified true copy of valid Mayor’s Permit
g. If the employer is a single proprietorship, certified true copy of DTI registration
h. If the employer is a corporation, certified true copy of Certificate of Incorporation, latest amended Articles of Incorporation, and latest General Information Sheet of the corporation issued by Securities and Exchange Commission
i. Authorization Letter, if the person other than the applicant will file the AEP application with DOLE.

Note that the AEP application must be filed before the commencement date of employment indicated the employment contract or appointment letter. Otherwise, the corporation and the foreign national will be subjected to penalty as will be discussed in the next column.

For comments and questions, please send an email to