A new regulation issued November 7 requires sponsoring companies to transact directly with the Directorate General of Immigration (DGI) to submit applications involving their foreign employees. Third-party agents will no longer be allowed to perform these services on behalf of foreign nationals.
Processes likely affected by this change include the Telex-VITAS (pre-approval letter for entry visa), Stay Permit (KITAS) and Cancellation (EPO) of KITAS, which historically have been permitted to be processed entirely by third-party agents.
Although the DGI announced that this change will take effect on November 14, 2016, some local Immigration offices are already implementing the regulation. In the meantime, feedback from companies and businesses adversely affected by this decision may still cause the DGI to reconsider and amend or cancel its implementation.
Furthermore, given that the regulation has come from the DGI, it is not yet clear whether this process will be extended to the submission of applications at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which would include applications such as the Foreign Manpower Utilization Plan (RPTKA), or Work Permit (IMTA).
What This Means for Employers
When this regulation is fully implemented, company representatives will have to appear in person to submit applications at the DGI or local Immigration offices. Immigration specialists can still assist with the automated portions of any given application process (such as online submissions or registrations and docket submissions, etc.) and the compilation/collation of the submission package (including accompanying the company representative to the relevant office, as far as permitted, to provide support).
The regulation is expected to be challenged given the lack of notice and discussion prior to issuance, and considering the significant impact of such a change.