The Bureau of Immigration (BI) is now strictly implementing the requirement of downgrading the work visa of a foreign national.
In the recent years, the BI has released issuances requiring all work visas to be downgraded, and not merely canceled by mere notification. The BI has also advised that an Exit Clearance Certificate may only be issued after the downgrading of the work visa.
Recently, we have seen the BI impose a fine on a foreign national who did not properly downgrade his work visa before leaving the Philippines. Upon the return of the foreign national to the Philippines (after the expiration of his work visa), he may be prevented from leaving the country until he completes the downgrading process and pays the fines imposed by the BI.
Implications for a company which employs / will employ foreign nationals
Upon the termination of the employment relationship between the company and a foreign national, the company must ensure that the foreign national's work visa is downgraded and his Alien Employment Permit is cancelled. The downgrading process takes around 2 to 3 weeks.
If the process is not followed, the foreign national may encounter issues upon his return to the country. As explained above, the foreign national may be prevented from leaving the country until he completes the downgrading process and pays the fines imposed by the BI.
Actions to consider / Conclusion
Please ensure that the work visa of the foreign national has been properly downgraded upon the cessation of his employment.