It is true that, different from most other countries, in order to hire a worker from the Philippines, there are complex procedures necessary for the employing company to go through involving certain government agencies of the Philippines, namely, the Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO) based in Japan, and the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) in the Philippines. In some cases, these procedures can be more difficult and time consuming than applications made to the Immigration Services Bureau.
These restrictions from the Philippines side were put in place with the stated objective of protecting the rights of overseas workers from the country as they work abroad. Effectively, without clearing the procedures required by the government of the Philippines, the worker may be barred from exiting the country, even if they had obtained the proper visa status from Japan. Employers overseas are banned from recruiting and hiring employees directly, and must recruit indirectly through a licensed Philippines Recruitment Agency (PRA), or alternatively apply for an exception to the ban on direct hire for a specific worker.
We will focus on the situation of hiring skilled workers who will come into Japan and work on the Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services status, and review the two main options in these cases.
The standard procedure, which the government of the Philippines strongly advises most Japanese employers to undertake, is indirect hiring via a PRA in the Philippines. The first step for a Japanese employer is to connect with a PRA and make a recruitment agreement. The employer must then decide what kind of qualifications, background and experience they are looking for in the application, and make a manpower recruitment request to the PRA. It is at this point that the government procedures begin.
The first time a company brings in a worker from the Philippines, a procedure called accreditation is required. First, the employer must make an application to POLO in Japan. POLO will conduct an examination of the employer and the contract conditions. After reviewing the documents, POLO will interview the employer and possibly visit the site of employment in person. POLO will then make a decision on whether to approve the application or not. If the application is approved, POLO will issue a certificate to the employer. The next step is to send this certificate and other necessary documents to the PRA in the Philippines, where they will complete the procedure for accreditation with POEA. Once accreditation has been granted, the PRA can begin recruiting workers and completing their exit permit procedures to send to the Japanese employer.
It is also possible to apply for an exemption to the ban on direct hiring for a highly skilled professional worker. In this case, it is not necessary to apply through a PRA, and all procedures can be completed by the employer and the future employee. However, this does not mean that the exemption application process is faster or simpler than the indirect hiring process. In fact, the general flow of the procedure is similar in both. The employer must pass accreditation by POLO (including interview) and POEA before the worker can receive their permit to exit the country. The major difference is that the exemption application is judged more strictly in regards to compensation, level of specialization of the work, education and experience level of the worker, etc. Also, large companies, companies that are looking for recruitment in numbers greater than a few people, and dispatch companies are advised to hire through a PRA in all cases. If POLO deems that the application does not fit the exemption criteria, the application may be canceled by POLO, and the employer advised to apply again as an indirect employer the standard way.