February 23, 2024

Despite the scare brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the Department of Labor and Employment will resume its crackdown against companies employing undocumented foreign workers. In Administrative Order 46, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III sent out 323 labor and employment officers (LEOs) to conduct verification inspection of establishments, including Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), across the country until June 30. The order was issued Jan. 31.
The LEOs will be joined by one regular labor inspector who will serve as a team leader to supervise the conduct of verification inspection. The Labor secretary also directed regional directors to authorize the verification/inspection of identified establishments and workplaces.
In Luzon, 87 inspectors were dispatched in the National Capital Region, 11 in the Cordillera, 11 in the Ilocos Region, 14 in the Cagayan Valley Region, 37 in Central Luzon Region, 32 in Calabarzon, 12 in Mimaropa, and 12 in the Bicol Region.
During the inspection, LEOs will ascertain the legitimacy of the company as shown by the business permit and the Securities and Exchange Commission registration and verify the roster of local employees and the foreign national/s actually working at the time of inspection.
The inspectors will also check the list of alien employment permit (AEP) applicants, if there are any, and the company representative should certify that they are indeed hiring the foreign nationals. Foreign workers are required to secure an AEP.
The companies or establishments are also tasked to register their company to the SEC for lawful employment and monitoring of tax identification number. Local authorities such as the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation are tasked to consolidate and reconcile the list of foreign workers currently working in the company.
An AEP is a document issued by the DOLE through its regional offices. It is one of the requirements for a foreign national to work in the Philippines.
Foreign nationals required to secure AEP are foreigners who intend to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines with an employer-employee relationship; foreign professionals allowed by the Professional Regulation Commission to practice their profession in the Philippines; and holders of Special Investors Resident Visa, Special Retirees Resident Visa, Treaty Traders Visa (9d) or Special Non-Immigrant Visa 47(a)2 who occupy any executive, advisory, supervisory, or technical position in any establishment are required to secure AEP from DOLE.
Foreign nationals exempted from securing an AEP are those covered by Article 40 of the Labor Code, but not required to secure an AEP under the existing laws or guidelines. Among the exemptions are all members of the diplomatic service and foreign government officials; owners and representatives of foreign principals whose companies are accredited by POEA; and permanent resident foreign nationals and probationary or temporary resident visa holders under Section 13 of the Philippine
In the Immigration Act of 1940, foreign nationals excluded from obtaining an AEP are those providing/supplying services in the country but their employers are located abroad or those without employer-employee relationship in the Philippines and therefore not covered by Article 40 of the Labor Code.
The DOLE regional director may, motu proprio or upon petition, cancel or revoke an AEP, after due process, based on any of the following grounds: non-compliance with any of the requirements or conditions for which the AEP was issued; misrepresentation of facts in the application; submission of falsified or tampered documents; meritorious objection or information against the employment of the foreign national; foreign national has been convicted of a criminal offense or a fugitive from justice; employer terminated the employment of foreign national; grave misconduct in dealing with or ill treatment of workers; or disapproval of the application for an authority to employ alien by the Department of Justice or special temporary permit by the PRC, if applicable.
The penalty for working without AEP is a fine of P10,000 for every year or a fraction thereof to a foreign national found working without a valid AEP. An employer found employing foreign national without a valid AEP shall also pay a fine of P10,000 for every year or a fraction thereof.
A foreign national whose AEP has been denied or cancelled on the grounds of conviction of criminal offense or fugitive from justice in the country or abroad; or grave misconduct in dealing with or ill treatment of workers is disqualified to re-apply within a period of 10 years from date of the order denying, cancelling or revoking the AEP.