Foreign workers must secure working visa before entry to the Philippines

The Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III advised that foreign nationals looking to work in the Philippines will be required to procure the necessary working visa from the Philippine consulate or the Philippine Labour Office (POLO) before travelling to the country.

A joint memorandum will be issued to this effect once the inter-agency committee composed of the Departments of Labour, Trade and Industry, Finance, Justice, the Bureau of Immigration and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation convenes on March 15.

The joint memorandum is also expected to list priority jobs for Alien Employment Permit and Special Work Permit ( AEP/SWP) applicants.


Most foreign workers come to the Philippines without necessarily declaring the purpose of travel as work and only once in country apply for the work permit.  Under the new memorandum this will no longer be allowed.

This is in light of the PH government crackdown on illegal foreign workers in the country.


Santa Fe is closely monitoring developments and will provide an update on the implementation as soon as available.

Santa Fe Analysis

The process once in the Philippines will remain the same.

However, visa application will start from home country for all foreigners travelling to the Philippines for work purposes.

This will mainly impact non- restricted nationals, where they were previously allowed to travel to the Philippines visa free and apply for their work permit in the Philippines, they now need to start the process in their home country.

For restricted nationals, they will need to declare in their application for entry visa that they are going to the Philippines for work purposes.

There will be stricter screening for Special Work Permit and Alien Employment Permit applicants where government needs to ascertain that the jobs the foreigner will perform cannot be performed by Filipinos.

Santa Fe will closely monitor the developments and with its extensive global footprint, will be able to provide guidance on the process once this is in place.

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

    Blanche Tan

    Immigration Manager – Philippines
    Santa Fe Relocation
    D: +63 2 553 2338

    Paolo Longo

    Regional Immigration Director – Middle East & Africa
    Santa Fe Relocation
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    D: +27 (0) 10 595 2337
    M: +27 (0) 83 677 7949

    Soumeya Messadi

    Head of Immigration – Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa
    Santa Fe Relocation
    D: +65 6398 3520
    M: +65 9169 6061


    To read more immigration updates, click here

    About our Immigration Services

    Our immigration services manage thousands of visa applications every year for a multitude of international companies. Our experienced immigration experts and migration agents handle the immigration process for you and provide simple reporting and guidance on immigration matters.

    About us

    Santa Fe Relocation is a global mobility company specialising in managing and delivering high-quality relocation services worldwide. Our core competence is providing services that help corporations and their employees relocate and settle in a new country, assisting them with immigration, home and school searches, language and cultural training, property rentals, and domestic and international household goods shipments. We provide these services to a consistently high standard, locally and globally. A key strength is our ability to manage these services through our own operations around the world. Santa Fe Relocation Services is wholly owned by the Santa Fe Group, which is listed on NASDAQ in Copenhagen, Denmark. For more information, visit us at

    Select login type

    If you haven’t received your login details then please get in touch with your relocation contact

    Login as an assigneeLogin as a client

    Santa Fe WeChat QR code
    ID: SantaFeRelo
    Hello, just to let you know we are not providing services to the selected location at the moment.