By: Julie Ann B. Zuniga
Philippine economic growth in the past few years has been a noticeable item in the global business arena. National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) has reported that as of 2013, the average economic growth of the Philippines is reaching up to 7.1%, the highest in nearly four decades. The rising performance of the Philippine economy and the increase in foreign investment results to the increase of foreign nationals working in the country. As of latest census made by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the number of foreign nationals residing here in the Philippines have reached over 177,000 and 94% of which are employed.
Foreign nationals who are employed in the Philippines are mostly hired for their skills, qualifications and expertise which may be short in supply in the country. Under Section 9(g) of the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 (PIA), an alien coming to pre-arranged employment for whom the issuance of pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines which will be valid with a minimum of one (1) year and a maximum of three (3) years, has been authorized in accordance with Section 20 the PIA. Prior to their employment in the Philippines, foreign employees or expatriates should secure a pre-arranged Employment Visa or locally known as the 9 (g) Visa with the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) which will determine the legality of their employment and stay in the country. A foreign national applying for a Pre- arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines will allow not only the expatriate employee in the Philippines but also his wife, and his unmarried children under twenty-one years of age with him based on dependent’s visa under his Pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines.
Requirements for Pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines
All foreign nationals applying for a Pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines shall be represented by their employers as the petitioner having the responsibility over the foreign national. In securing a Pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines, the following requirements must be completed and submitted to the Bureau of Immigration:
1. Joint letter request addressed to the Commissioner stating that no person can be found in the Philippines willing and competent to perform the labor or service for which the foreign national is applying for;
2. Consolidated General Application Form (CGAF)
3. 2×2 ID Picture, white background
4. Photocopy of Passport of the foreign national, with visa or Certificate of Recognition for refugees;
5. Photocopy of the Alien Employment Permit;
6. Contract of Employment/Appointment or Board Secretary’s Certificate of Election of the foreign national;
7. SEC Certificate of Registration of the petitioner;
8. Current General Information Sheet of the petitioner;
9. Current Income Tax Return (ITR) of the petitioner;
10. Certification by the Human Resource Director/Personnel Officer as to the number of foreign nationals employed by the petitioner; and
11. Affidavit of support and guarantee executed by the petitioner in favor of the applicant.
The cost of application process may vary on the validity of the Pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines being applied, a minimum of PhP 10,630.00 for a one (1) year visa and a maximum of PhP 25,710.00 for a three (3) years visa. Said fees may change from time to time and you can check with the Bureau of Immigration for an updated fees. Also, there will be an additional fee for the Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR I-Card) which is a microchip based identification card issued to all registered aliens whose stay in the Philippines has exceeded fifty-nine (59) days.
Procedure of Application
The Immigration Officer will evaluate the submitted documents before the computation of the payment of fees for Pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines. After which, an interview will be scheduled for the foreign national and the authorized representative of his employer. Both of them will then appear before a Hearing Officer which will further evaluate the application. After the hearing, the foreign national will proceed to Image and Fingerprint Capturing Counter of the Alien Registration Division (ARD) and submit requirements for ACR I-Card application.
Timetable for the Application Process
The visa implementation usually takes up to forty (40) working days on the average, depending on the number of applications submitted to the BI and it may requires lots of patience. At some point, due to the volume of foreign expatriate applicants for Pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines coming in, longer lines for every Immigration Officer is to be expected. Before going to BI make sure that all the necessary documents are intact because only complete requirements are accepted.
To facilitate the processing of Pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines, it might be worth to secure the professional services of service providers accredited with the Bureau of Immigration such as firms, lawyers, and professionals. Their familiarity, if not expertise, with the technical application of pre-arranged foreign employment visa or 9(g) Visa in the Philippines, documentary requirements, processes, and their varied experience in dealing with the Immigration Officers and processors could prove to be an advantage.