Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Philippines - Licensing Requirements for Professional Services

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On May 29, 2015, the Government issued Executive Order No.184, Series of 2015 which promulgated the 10th Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) (http://www.gov.ph/2015/05/29/executive-order-no-184-s-2015/)

The Philippine Government relaxed the restrictions on the practice of profession of foreign individuals in the Philippines. 

The 10th FINL decreased the number of professions that are reserved only to Filipino nationals. The professions reserved only to Filipino nationals are pharmacy; radiologic and X-ray technology; criminology; forestry; and law. 

The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Supreme Court (SC) are the official organizations mandated by the Philippine government to regulate and supervise the practice of various professionals. They are responsible for the administration, implementation, and enforcement of regulatory policies on the regulation and licensing of various professions and occupations under the Philippine jurisdiction.

Licensed professionals from foreign countries who wish to practice their professions in the Philippines, except in the practice of law, should obtain a special temporary permit from the PRC based on the provision of Republic Act 8981

The practice of law is reserved exclusively to Philippine citizens who have completed the requisite coursework at a duly accredited Philippine law school and have passed the bar examinations. The two exceptions to the citizenship and education requirement are (1) U.S. citizens who, before July 4, 1946, were licensed to practice before Philippine courts, and (2) Philippine citizens who were “enrolled attorneys in good standing in the Supreme Court of the United States or in any circuit court of appeals or district court therein, or in the highest court of any State or Territory of the United States.”

Consequently, foreign lawyers cannot engage in the practice of law in the Philippines, and must be represented by a member of the Philippine Bar in all matters connected with such practice.

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