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Friday, September 16, 2011

IMMIGRATION ISSUES: Pakistani Working in the Philippines For A Month!

I got this email from a client:

I have a question. Is the visa for Pakistan the same visa as that the other visiting language interpreters (i.e. Mongolian, Taiwanese, Indonesian, Cambodian, and Thai) get? What work visa is needed for the four - weeks employment of the language interpreter? How to obtain and how much is the fees?

My reply.

A. Entry Visa to the Philippines

The entry visa required of Pakistani language interpreter coming to the Philippines is the same as the entry visa required of Taiwanese since both nationalities are classified as "restricted" nationals by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

As such, the Pakistani language interpreter need to secure from the Philippine Consulate/Embassy in their country a 9 (a) business visa for travel to the Philippines. The 9(a) business visa is valid for 59 days.

It takes 10 working days for the 9(a) business visa to be secured by the Pakistani language interpreter from the Philippine Consulate/Embassy in Pakistan. (Click this link too for the requirements and fees for the visa).

This entry visa, however, is not required for Mongolians, Cambodians, Thais and Indonesians who are "non-restricted" nationals and are allowed to travel to the Philippines for business and tourism purposes without visas for a stay not exceeding twenty-one (21) days, provided they hold valid tickets for their return journey to port of origin or next port of destination and their passports valid for a period of at least six (6) months beyond the contemplated period of stay

All teachers, whether "restricted" or "non-restricted", are required to secure a Special Work Permit (SWP) to engage in gainful employment in the country for a period not exceeding six (6) months.

B. Appropriate Work Visa for Pakistani Teacher/Translator

Immediately upon the arrival of the Pakistani language interpreter, the language interpreter/translator is required to obtain the proper work visa because the language interpreter will be performing work in the Philippines.

Given that the language interpreter/translator will work in the Philippines on a one-time basis and will stay in the Philippines for a period of only four weeks, it would be sufficient for the language interpreter/translator to obtain a Special Work Permit ("SWP") valid for three months (and renewable for another three months) from the Bureau of Immigration. There should be a local petitioner for the SWP application.

The requirements that must be submitted in connection with an application for an SWP are as follows:

a) Photocopy of the pertinent pages of the passport of the expatriate;

b) Signed bio-data/curriculum vitae;
c) Photocopy of SEC Certificate of Registration, By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation of the petitioning company;
d) Contract of Employment/Appointment Letter (Fixed Period Employment Contract);
e) Duly signed and notarized Application Form and cover Letter Application for SWP; and
f) As per M. O. No. ELM-083, where the applicant shall receive compensation from Philippine sources, there shall be submitted an Affidavit of Undertaking to Withhold and Remit to the Bureau of Internal Revenue taxes due on all income.

The processing period to obtain an SWP is around one week from the submission of the complete documentary requirements; while the estimated government fees are approximately PhP 7,000.00 per application.

Under the current guidelines of the Bureau of Immigration, Special Work Permits (SWPs) are valid only for the duration of the holder’s current stay and are automatically cancelled upon departure from the Philippines. Thus, MTC language interpreter returning either to resume an assignment, or to start a new one, must apply for a new SWP after re-entry, provided that the total project or assignment period does not exceed six (6)months (or 180 days in a year ).

As holder of an SWP, the language interpreter/translator will be exempted from obtaining an alien employment permit from the Department of Labor and Employment. However, please note that the language interpreter/translator' "authorized stay" (i.e., 9[a] visa which will be stamped on the teachers/translators' passports at the airport) must always be extended and updated during her entire stay in the Philippines.

Please be informed further that the Bureau of Immigration implemented the Alien Certificate Of Registration Immigration Card Project (“ACR I-Card Project”).

The ACR I-Card Project automates the entire process of alien registration and integrates the issuance of various paper-based alien documentations into a microchip-based identification card called the ACR I-Card.

The ACR I-Card is a microchip-based credit card-sized identification card issued to registered alien replacing the paper-based ACR. It has an embedded computer chip with biometric security features capable of data management and can be updated electronically. It is fraud and tamper-proof/resistant valid until the death of the holder but RENEWABLE every year.

The ACR I-Card likewise serves as the Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC), Re-entry Permit (RP) and Special Return Certificate (SRC) of the holder upon payment of the required fees.

In view of this ACR I-Card Project, the Pakistani Teacher will pay $50 (or its peso equivalent at the time of payment) for the ACR I-Card valid for a year.