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Spotlight on APAC Series: The Philippines

In our spotlight on APAC series we round up the latest developments across Asia Pacific.  In this post we look at the Philippines and amended measures to facilitate easier downgrade of a PEZA Visa.


The Philippines

The PEZA visa is usually issued to those foreign employees of Regional Operating Headquarters or those working on special projects in economic zones (The Philippines Economic Zone Authority).  In a move to ease requirements PEZA has now changed the process for employees seeking to downgrade a visa.


As of 15 September 2023:

  • The Understudy Training Programme (UTP) or Skills Development Programme (SDP) submission is no longer an obligatory step in obtaining a PEZA visa.  The requirement was removed by PEZA but applicants should note that such submissions may still be requested by the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) so it is important to see how the change is implemented in practice.
  • Where an employee on a PEZA visa is changing role or job title with their current employer, they are no longer required to leave the country and apply for a new visa outside of the Philippines.  Exemptions from the Order to Leave (OTL) requirement are now available for those seeking to change job or title with the same employer.  The individual must submit the duly signed employment contract along with a notarised undertaking committing to immediate PEZA vis application.
  • PEZA visa applications filed within 30 days of visa expiry no longer require a supporting letter to the Director General.


To find out more about these changes and our updates across the APAC region please contact Antonia Grant at [email protected] and [email protected].



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