Alien employment in the Philippines update: DOLE Department Order No. 221-A series 2022 explains guidelines on agent accreditation

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) releases new guidelines to help employers in matters on the accreditation of agents, appointing an authorised representative for filing a foreign national’s Alien Employment Permit (AEP) applications and other related documents.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) highlights new guidelines to help employers in matters regarding the accreditation of agents, appointing an authorised representative for filing a foreign national’s Alien Employment Permit (AEP) applications and other related documents thanks to their newly released Department Order No. 221-A, which is according to section 26 of Department Order No. 221 of the 2021 series.  

The document was issued to help institutionalise and prescribe the guidelines in the accreditation of agents and their personnel, along with the employer’s representatives authorised to represent, to act for and on behalf of a Philippine-based Employer and foreign nationals for the application and issuance of AEP or the Certificate of Exclusion/Exemption by the Department of Labor through its Regional Offices (DOLE -RO).  

It also tackles the cover applications for Certificate of Exemption and Certificate of Exclusion by entities or foreign nationals while conducting their duties and responsibilities requiring their presence in the Philippines. 

Definition of Terms  

Specific terms were defined in the earlier portions of the order to give a better understanding of the changes it brings; the new definitions are:  

  1. Alien Employment: A permit issued by DOLE to foreign nationals following the employment arrangement with a Philippine-based company after a Labor Market Test (LMT). The document then clarifies those applications for AEP may be either filed by the foreign national themselves, a Philippine-based employer, or through authorised representatives.  
  2. Applicant: An applicant for Certificate of Accreditation or Registration may either be a:  
    • Consultancy Firm  
    • Law office  
    • Employer’s authorised representative through their employer  
  3. Accredited Agents (AA): establishments or firms registered with DOLE and have issued Certificates and Accreditation allowed to legally transact business for employers and foreign nationals applying for AEP, Certificate of Exemption/Exclusion.   
  4. Accredited Personnel (AP): An accredited Agent employee authorised to legally transact with DOLE and issued with Accreditation ID.  
  5. Authority to Transact: the authority issued by the DOLE-RO concerned to the AP to transact on behalf of the Philippines-based employer or foreign national applying for an AEP, Certificate of Exemption/Exclusion  
    Note: This is to be issued with the corresponding Accreditation/ID/s, which the AP uses in transacting official business with the DOLE.  
  6. Certificate of Accreditation: A document issued by DOLE certifying that the agent is authorised to transact business-specific only to the application of AEP, Certificate of Exemption/Exclusion; for and on behalf of the Philippine-based employer and foreign national. 
  7. Certificate of Exclusion: a document issued to categories of foreign nationals enumerated under Section 20 of D0 221 series of 2021.  
  8. Certificate of Exemption: a document issued to categories of foreign nationals enumerated under Section 18 of D0 221 series of 2021. 
  9. Employer’s Authorised Representative (EAR): an employee of a Philippine-based employer who is either an:  
    • Appointed human resource personnel, liaison officer or an employee covered by a duly notarized Special Power of Attorney (SPA) in sole proprietorship cases.  
    • Authorised employer/employee covered by a duly notarised Board Resolution or Secretary’s Certificate in case of partnership with the corporation  
  10. Supplemental Authority to Transact:  authority issued by the concerned DOLE-RO to the AP duly accredited by another DOLE-RO., to transact on behalf of the Philippines-based employer or a foreign national applying for an AEP or Certificate of Exclusion/Exemption subject to the conditions outlined in these rules.  

Guidelines for alien/foreign nationals  

After defining the previous terms, the order moved towards clarifying which entities or individuals may apply for an AEP or Certificate of Exclusion/Exemption on behalf of an employer or an alien/foreign national employee; given that they’ve been accredited and registered to DOLE following the provisions under these guidelines:  

  1. Consultancy Firms  
  2. Law offices  
  3. Employer authorised representative  

Accreditation requirements and application  

All entities or individuals who wish to apply for accreditation covered by the rules in Section 3 need to submit the following requirements to the DOLE-RO located at their principal office:  

  1. A duly completed application form  
  2. Certified True Copy (CTC) of DTI/SEC registration and articles of Incorporation  
  3. CTC of a valid mayor/business permit  
  4. A duly notarised list of with a maximum of three (3) authorised personnel to transact with DOLE  
  5. Payment of Required Fees 

Additionally, the three authorised personnel mentioned in (d) are mandated to submit the following:  

  1. Company I.D photocopy  
  2. One (1) government-issued I.D photocopy  
  3. An updated contact list information  
  4. NBI clearance  
  5. Police clearance 
  6. A 2x2 picture  

However, any applications with incomplete requirements will not be accepted or received by the DOLE-RO. Ensure that all documents are prepared before submitting them to your nearest principal office.  

Accreditation Validity  

All accreditations will be valid for a maximum of two (2) years across all DOLE-ROs.  

Applicants will be given an Accreditation Certificate along with an accreditation I.D that will indicate the process’s validity unless it is revoked or cancelled. However, accredited agents for clients in other regions can apply for a Supplemental Authority to Transact with any concerned DOLE-RO. Its AP can transact in the area and pay the corresponding fee.  

Additionally, accredited agents need to attach the CTC of their Certificate of Accreditation during their application for the Supplemental Authority to transact with the names of its registered AP, along with the photocopy of the required documents mentioned in item (d).  

Accreditation Fees  

All applicants are required to pay the following non-refundable fees:  

  • PHP 8,000.00 for Accreditation Registration  
  • PHP 8,000.00 for renewal of Accreditation  
  • PHP 2,000.00 for each accreditation I.D and replacement afterwards  
  • PHP 4,000.00 for Supplemental Authority to Transect per regional Application  

Accreditation Processing and Issuance of Certificate  

The document then clarifies that DOLE-ROs usually complete processing and evaluate accreditation applications' approval within five (5) days of working days. They’ll be able to issue the Certificate of Accreditation in 5 days and schedule their orientation/seminar of their AP within one (1) month from the date of issuance. Applicants should understand that DOLE-ROs will not issue I.D Accreditation before attending the seminar/orientation.  

It then reminds employers that only a maximum of three (3) personnel of their Accredited Agent are authorised to represent and transact with DOLE to apply for either an AEP, Certificate of Exemption/Exclusion, and who will be issued with the Second Authority to transact.  

Accreditation covered Transactions  

The Certificate of Accreditation only covers transactions related to applying for new and renewing AEP and Certificate of Exemption/Exclusion. Any application for AEP and Certificate of Exclusion/Exemption filed by an Accredited Agent will be covered by a Service Contract/Agreement; this will define the scope and extent of authority within the application, which will be duly executed by and between the Accredited Agent and the Philippine-based employer or alien/foreign national.  

The agreement between involved parties can come in a master contract for employers and individual contracts for FNs. The exact requirements are to be submitted to the DOLE-RO you went to before the proceedings of any transaction.  

The order made sure to consider partnerships and corporations, explaining that they need a duly notarised Board Resolution/Secretary’s Certificate or its equivalent; these will be submitted as proof of representation and contracted by the employer or foreign national in most cases.   

Authorised Representatives for Philippine-based employers  

Philippine-based employers can appoint employees as Authorized Representatives (EAR) to transact with concerned DOLE-ROs. The EAR will then have to submit the following requirements:  

  1. Photocopy of company I.D  
  2. Photocopy of one (1) government-issued I.D  
  3. Updated contact information  

The document reminds that EARs need to pay a PHP 2,000.00 fee for the DOLE pass I.D, which needs to be always worn upon entry while in the DOLE-RO premises, and that no DOLE pass I.D will be issued to them before their attendance to the orientation/seminar. This pass will be valid for two (2) years unless revoked or cancelled by the Philippines-based employer.  

Applications for Accreditation Renewal  

The document explains that Renewal Applications can be filed within thirty (30) days before the Certificate of Accreditation expires; these expirations will be subject to submitting updated requirements under Section 4 of this Department Order. The renewed Certificate of Accreditation will become valid upon the previous certificate’s expiration date.  

It also reminds employers that they need to renew the appointment of their EAR within 30 days before their DOLE pass’ expiration date.  

Accredited Agent/Employer responsibilities and duties  

All Accredited Agents/Employers and their AP/EAR have the following duties and responsibilities they need to:  

  1. Adhere and comply with the provisions of the DOLE DO 2021 series of 2021 or any existing guidelines when applying for either an AEP or a Certificate of Exclusion/Exemption  
  2. Provide DOLE with updated documentary requirements in case of expiry during the validity of the Accreditation or expiry of the DOLE pass ID, as the case may be  
  3. Ensure the attendance of their EAR/AP to the training/seminar conducted by DOLE for awareness and compliance with AEP guidelines  
  4. Ensure that their AP/EAR will present their respective I.D and always wear it while in the DOLE premises for proper identification, alongside a photocopy of their I.D attached in all applications they facilitate for processing.  
  5. Immediately submit a notification of any changes in representation  

Prohibitions to Accredited personnel  

Accredited personnel are prohibited from doing the following actions:  

  1. Submitting tampered or fraudulent documents/requirements (e.g., company Id, NBI, and police clearance)  
  2. Transacting without submitting a Service Contract Agreement with a Philippines-based employer  
  3. Entering any DOLE premises except when transacting for their clients  
  4. Lobbying with employers applying for AEP for their foreign workers within a 2km vicinity of DOLE-RO  
  5. Other prohibited and punishable acts under Section 17 of DO 221 series of 2021  

Penalties for performing prohibited actions  

Any Accredited personnel proved to have violated this Department Order are subject to the following penalties:  

  • First Offense: Reprimand  
  • Second Offense: Suspension of one (1) week  
  • Third Offense: Suspension of one (1) month  
  • Fourth Offense: Suspension of three (3) months  

Agents who accumulated five (5) consolidated offences of APs will have their authority to transact revoked and will be reprimanded without prejudice to the other compliant APs. Agents will also be batted for five (5) years if they are guilty of filing three (3) counts of fraudulent AEP applications after due process, under the rules of Section 17 DO 221.   

Employers and their authorised representatives will also be penalised if found guilty of the same offence.  

Accredited Agents Reportorial Duties   

The Department Order concludes by stating that Accredited Agents must:  

  1. Provide and notify the DOLE-RO of any changes or updated contact details, residential and employment address  
  2. Submit a semestral report or list of companies and foreign/alien nationals served.