DOLE ink JMO easing work visa rules for FNs in Subic-Clark corridor

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Foreign Nationals (FN) to be employed in the Subic-Clark Economic Corridor will now have an easier time applying for permits and visas.

This after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) last week signed a new Joint Ordinance (JMO) with the Bataan Free Zone Authority (AFAB), the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development , Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Clark International Airport to update rules for FN visa applications and permits.

The DOLE said the new agreement aims to ensure that the processing of said documents for the FNS is “efficient, streamlined and has harmonized rules and procedures.”

“The [new] JMO aims to institutionalize the processing of work permits and visas for FNs in specific ecozones in Region 3 [SBMA, Clark Development Corporation and AFAB]Assistant Secretary of Labor Dominique R. Tutay told BusinessMirror in a Viber message.

The original version of the JMO was first signed in 2009 before undergoing three revisions.

The revised version of the JMO, Tutay said, would incorporate the new requirements and rules for the processing and issuance of the Foreign Work Permit (AEP), AEP Exclusion Certificates and AEP Exemption, as provided by the DOLE Department Order No. 221, Series of 2021 and Memorandum of Understanding Between DOLE and Economic Zone Authorities.

The new issuance also incorporates provisions for special work permits and provisional work permits under the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Operations Order No. JHM-2019-008.

Other changes to the JMO include allowing zone authorities to issue letters of no objection, endorsements and/or other appropriate certifications to foreign nationals, but who are not otherwise qualified for permits. and/or visas; allow personal interviews to be conducted using online platforms for candidates; gives more clarity on the start of contracts during notarization; and refines provisions regarding visa downgrade/visa cancellation orders, with an explicit provision on reconsideration petitions.

It also requires notification to area authorities of approved applications denied by the DOLE and BI as well as visa and permit fees already paid in favor of area authorities if applications are denied.

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