The Bureau of Local Employment aims to improve alien employment regulation in the Philippines by allowing accredited agents and authorized representatives to process Alien Employment Permits or AEPs and other related documents for and on behalf of foreign nationals and Philippine-based employers.
In line with this, the BLE conducted last 25-26 April 2022 a two-day online orientation on Department Order 221-A or the “Guidelines in the Accreditation of Agents and Appointment of Employers’ Authorized Representatives for the Filing of Alien Employment Permit (AEP) Applications and Related Documents” for all DOLE Regional Offices (ROs) in preparation for its full implementation on 19 July 2022.
A total of 100 participants comprising of AEP focal persons and technical staff from the DOLE Regional Offices participated, including DOLE NCR Regional Director Atty. Sarah Buena Mirasol and DOLE Region III Assistant Regional Director Alejandro Cruz, who both provided valuable insights on the policy.
In her welcome message, Assistant Secretary Dominique Rubia-Tutay emphasized the importance of the regulatory policy in connection to the passage of the amended Public Service Act and Foreign Investment Act. The Philippine Government anticipates that both legislations will cause an influx of foreign national employees and foreign investors due to further economic liberalization and easing of foreign ownership restrictions.
The first part of the session focused on the salient features of DO 221-A, which was discussed during an interactive session by Jerome Lucas of the BLE. Ms. Rosalinda Pineda, Chief Labor and Employment Officer of the Bureau, subsequently presented the prescribed forms to be used by employers and accredited agents. During the second day, it was Alberto Yohanon of the BLE who covered the same topic.
The development of the policy regulation is timely due to the upward trend in the number of AEP applications being received by the DOLE ROs. A product of tedious consultations with the DOLE Offices, Tripartite Industry Peace Council, and Immigration Lawyers Association of the Philippines, the policy institutionalizes the accreditation of Agents and Employer’s representatives authorized to represent, to act for and on behalf of a Philippine-based employer or foreign national for the application of AEP.
By its institutionalization, the Department aims to ease difficulties in the application process by allowing a third party to prepare the documentary requirements for the AEP application. It also legitimizes the role of consultancy, and law firms and professionals in processing applications for AEP and other related documents.
More importantly, as a regulatory mechanism, the policy aims to address problems on fixers, fake AEPs, and the unreasonable withholding of permits and passports of foreign nationals. The policy also provides corresponding penalties for any acts that contravene the authority given to the accredited entities.