New Philippines foreign workers policy expected to be out by 1st May 2019

The Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) in the Philippines, is targeting to issue a new policy aimed at regulating the influx of foreign workers in the country, in time for labour day on 1st May.

Under the new policy, foreigners entering the Philippines as tourists will no longer be allowed to convert to a working visa.

Furthermore, the issuance of the Special Work Permit (SWP) will be highly regulated and limited to pre-determined categories who will only conduct business on a short-term engagement.

Who will be affected?

All foreign nationals wanting to take up employment in the Philippines, especially non-visa restricted nationals and foreign nationals who intend entering the Philippines to conduct short term activities.


Most foreign workers come to the Philippines without necessarily declaring the purpose of their visit as work and only once in country, apply for the necessary Work Visa.  Under the new memorandum this will no longer be allowed.

This is in light of the Philippines Government control measures to limit the amount of illegal foreign workers in the country.


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

    Santa Fe Analysis

    The process to apply for a work permit in the Philippines will remain the same.

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

    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 SWP/ AEP applicants where government needs to ascertain that the jobs the foreigner will perform cannot be done by Filipinos.


    Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

    Blanche Tan

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

    Soumeya Messadi

    Head of Immigration – Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa
    Santa Fe Relocation
    D: +65 6398 3520 (5630)
    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

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