What is the change? Employer sponsors of foreign nationals who are applying for 9(g) Commercial Visas must send a company representative to each applicant’s interview.

What does the change mean? Employers must appoint an appropriate representative to appear in person.

  • Implementation timeframe:  The rule came into force with little advance notice May 28.
  • Visas/permits affected: 9(g) Commercial Visas.
  • Who is affected: Companies who are sponsoring foreign nationals for the above visas.
  • Impact on processing times: Possible delays may result if interview dates must be pushed back while company representatives are identified.
  • Business impact: There will be additional cost and time spent on designating, training and making available the company representatives.
  • Next steps: Companies should understand who is authorized to act as their representatives and prepare to designate and train appropriate personnel for that role.

Background: In the past, only the employee was required to appear at the interview for a 9(g) Commercial Visa. Now, however, the employer must also send a corporate representative to the interview. The Top 1000 companies in the Philippines are exempt from the new rule.

The new requirement sets out who may represent different types of employers. A corporation or partnership must designate an executive officer who is required to be identified in the Articles of Incorporation or Partnership or on its most recent General Information Sheet. Alternatively, the executive officer may authorize a non-executive officer to act as the corporate representative through a notarized special power of attorney. If prepared outside the Philippines, the notarized special power of attorney must also be legalized at a Philippine Embassy to qualify for acceptance by the Bureau of Immigration. Under no circumstances can executive officers authorize the company’s lawyers, liaison officers or travel agents to representative the company at the 9(g) interview, even through a special power of attorney. An employer who is a sole proprietor can only be represented by the registered owner, identified in the Certificate of Business Registration issued by the Department of Trade and Industry.

BAL Analysis: The new rule introduces a significant responsibility and procedural burden on employers. Employers should be prepared to designate and properly authorize their representative as soon as possible in order to avoid delays in the processing of their employees’ 9(g) visa applications.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the Philippines. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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