Immigration in Philippines

Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw)

The dedicated immigration team at Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw) services a broad client base, including foreign embassies, domestic conglomerates, multinational companies and expats. In a notable appointment, practice head Maria Khristina Garcia-Angel was elected as the secretary of the Immigration Lawyers’ Association of the Philippines (ILAP). In addition to her expansive labour law practice, Garcia-Angel advises on administrative and judicial naturalisation, the recognition and re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship, and visa and work permit applications. She and the team also assist clients who have been issued with blacklist orders, hold departure orders and alert list orders. Key associates in the team include Napoleon Gonzales, who joined the firm in 2018, and Kiarra Nastazsa Adrienne Cabile. Regina Geraldez retired from the firm in 2018.

Practice head(s):

Maria Khristina Garcia-Angel

Quisumbing Torres

The immigration practice at Quisumbing Torres forms part of the Baker McKenzie network's global immigration and mobility team. The group is able to advise on the planning and implementation of large global transfers into the Philippines or abroad. In other work, the team assists clients with offshore visa applications, alert list lifting and securing Alien Employment Permits (AEP) for concurrent positions in related companies. It has recently worked with companies in the energy, tech and consumer goods sectors, among others. Labour law is another strength, where the firm has a recommended practice. The 'very reliableMiguel Galvez heads the immigration group and is also a member of the dispute resolution practice. Senior associate Anna Carmi Calsado-Amoroso is also active in the immigration and dispute practices.

Practice head(s):

Miguel Galvez

Other key lawyers:

Anna Carmi Calsado-Amoroso

Testimonials

Miguel Galvez is very reliable and supportive‘.

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

Sitting within the broader employment and immigration department, the immigration practice at SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan advises on visas and permits, citizenship issues and adversarial proceedings involving deportation and blacklisting. The team also benefits from the firm's renowned corporate and tax practices, allowing it to provide comprehensive legal services to its multinational companies active in - or seeking to enter - the Philippine market. Recent work has included advising health and wellness products company Fordays on visa and permit issues and processes for its foreign staff. Dante Pamintuan heads the practice, which also includes Rodelle Bolante, who specialises in immigration, labour and business outsourcing.

Practice head(s):

Dante Pamintuan

Other key lawyers:

Rodelle Bolante; Russel Rodriguez; Easter Princess Castro-Ty

Key clients

Fragomen Singapore

Colgate-Palmolive

US Wheat Associates

Bell Canada

Envoy Global

Fordays Japan

US Auto Parts

Turkish Airlines

Thomson Reuters Asia PTE

Sarimonde Foods Corp.

Work highlights

  • Advised Fordays on employment issues for its expats and other immigration matters for its foreign staff.
  • Provided advice to the Philippine affiliate of a Canadian company on immigration matters and processes.
  • Assists Bank of Singapore in processing work visas and employment permits for key foreign personnel assigned to the Philippines.
  • Assists an immigration consultancy with the processing of special Philippine residence visas for retirees and investors.

Picazo assists clients in securing visas and work permits.

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia

Cruz Marcelo & Tenefrancia provides a comprehensive immigration service, covering immigrant, employee and retiree visas, work permits (including AEP), Philippine citizenship processes, naturalisation proceedings and deportation and exclusion proceedings. Recent instructions have come from longstanding clients, and the practice has also picked up several new clients, including companies in the media and manufacturing sectors. Senior partner Rosa Michele Bagtas heads the department; she draws on 20 years' experience advising on immigration law, and has additional knowledge of corporate and M&A, capital markets and real estate.

Practice head(s):

Rosa Michele Bagtas

Other key lawyers:

Aida Araceli Roxas-Rivera; Pancho Umali

Key clients

BVI (Philippines) Corporation

Therma Luzon

ABS-CBN Corporation

Sincere Facade Innovation

KSB Philippines

Play Innovations

Satellite Office Solutions

Fox International Channels Philippines Corporation

Interior Resource Network

Pito Axm Platform

Avenida & Diaz Law Office

Fernando Lagman & Avenida Law Office enters the ranking due to its focus on immigration law and services. It also stands out for the speed with which it is able to assist its clients with immigration issues and processes. It has continued to expand its client base, which encompasses SMEs as well as major multinationals. In recent work, Robenson Avenida and Kristine Avenida assisted pharma company Roche Philippines with the immigration exit procedures for a high-level executive, completing the process in seven business days. In internal developments, Carlo Artemus Diaz was promoted to junior partner.

Practice head(s):

Kristine Avenida

Key clients

MUFG (formerly The Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd.)

Philippine Business Bank

Trust Paper International Corporation

LBC Express

Philippine Seven Corporation

Oceanagold (Philippines)

Collectius CMS (P)

Komatsu Ltd – Manila Representative Office

Roche Philippines

Chodai Co – Manila Representative Office

RTS Technology Philippines

Zomato Philippines

Work highlights

  • For client OceanaGold (Philippines), the team devised a scheme which streamlined application of its expats, despite a limited schedule. This markedly reduced the delays with the application process.
  • Assist pharma company Roche Philippines with the necessary immigration exit procedures in a limited timeframe.

Fortun Narvasa & Salazar

Fortun Narvasa & Salazar has a number of longstanding firm clients, which turn to the team for assistance with a range of immigration issues, including applications for pre-arranged employment visas, other resident visas and AEPs. In recent work, the team obtained renewals of employment visas and AEPs, alien certificates of registration and exit clearances for four foreign employees of Canon Business Services Center Philippines. Managing partner Mylene Marcia-Creencia is well versed in several areas of law, including immigration and family, and Robert Francis Fernandez is a name to note at the associate level.

Practice head(s):

Roderick Salazar

Key clients

Canon Business Services Center Philippines

Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) Philippines

Alkem Philippines

Pernod Ricard Philippines

Work highlights

  • On behalf of Canon Business Services Center Philippines, the team applied for and obtained employment visas and permits for four foreign workers.
  • Obtained – for client Alkem Laboratories Philippines- renewals of pre-arranged employment visas and alien employment permits, alien certificates of registration and exit clearances and inclusion of dependents, as well as tourist visas, for three foreign employees.

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano's immigration practice expanded in 2018 and 2019 with the hire of new junior associate Nicole Gabrielle Kalingking and the return of associate Enrico Angeles after the completion of his masters. The team advises clients on immigration laws, policies and legal processes, with particular expertise in immigrant and non-immigrant visas and permits, citizenship recognition and reacquisition, blacklisting proceedings and deportation proceedings, among other areas. Shirley Alinea is the team head; her broad practice spans dispute resolution, IP and immigration.

Practice head(s):

Shirley Alinea

Other key lawyers:

Gino Paulo Uy; Nicole Gabrielle Kalingking; Phil Ivan Chan; Enrico Angeles; Florence Contreras

Poblador Bautista & Reyes

Poblador Bautista & Reyes handles the full range of visa applications, including student, employment and investor, as well as assisting clients applying for citizenship. The key contact is Marie Cecile Roque Quintos.

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles

Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles assists clients with immigration requirements for overseas employment.

Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako

The team at Siguion Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako handles all types of emigration and immigration regulatory issues, as well as citizenship and naturalisation cases in conjunction with the litigation department. The key name is Antonio Pido.

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)'s immigration department has the size and resources to handle a high volume of immigration applications, where it advises on all stages, from extensions of tourist visas to issuances of visas in favour of dependents. It acts as counsel to a number of household name companies. Examples include PayPal, which the team assists with a range of labour and immigration issues, including work permits, visas and coordination between the local subsidiary, the foreign company and the individual employees. Other significant clients include Tata Consultancy Services, Twitter and Netflix. Mark Benjamin Yam is a key contact at the associate level.

Practice head(s):

Raoul Angangco; Sylvette Tankiang; Leonardo Singson

Other key lawyers:

Mark Benjamin Yam

Key clients

Tata Consultancy Services (Philippines)

PayPal Philippines

Remitly

Twitter Philippines

Netflix Philippines

Baxter healthcare Philippines

AirBnb Philippines

Work highlights

  • Advises PayPal on its labour and immigration concerns, including in the preparation of relevant working permits and visas.
  • Assisted Netflix with the processing of the immigration and labour concerns of the company, including for the entry and employment of manager-level employees.
  • Assists Tata Consultancy Services (Philippines) with all applications for the issuance of the proper visas and work permits in favour of company’s expats.