Rules on visas for (Philippine) foreign investors eased

From BusinessWorld

December 21, 2011

THE BUREAU of Immigration (BI) has revised the implementing rules on the issuance of special visas for non-immigrant foreign investors in the country, providing for stricter conditions in application but making the process easier.

Through a memorandum circular approved by Commissioner Ricardo A. David, Jr. on Dec. 14 and published in a newspaper yesterday, the bureau issued the “Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations for Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG).”

The new set of rules — which repeals the 2009-issued implementing rules and regulations for Executive Order (EO) 758, or the guidelines for the issuance of special visa to non-immigrants for employment generation — makes the application for SVEG easier for foreigners looking to build or maintain businesses in the Philippines.

“It [SVEG application] is now investor-friendly,” Cris M. Villalobos, chief of the SVEG One Stop Shop Center, said in a telephone interview yesterday.

SVEG, defined by EO 758, “is a special visa issued to a qualified non-immigrant foreigner who shall actually employ at least 10 Filipinos in a lawful and sustainable enterprise, trade or industry.”

Mr. Villalobos said the new rules provide for a shorter application period for SVEG.

“Before, if you wanted to apply for an SVEG, you had to go through a one-year probationary period. On or before the probationary period expired, the holder had to request again [for the issuance of SVEG],” he said.

“With the new rules [and] one-time application, the foreigner can already enjoy an indefinite stay [in the country].”

The bureau official, however, said that the new rules have stricter requirements.

Aside from the regular clearances from the National Intelligence Coordination Agency, the bureau will also be requiring the applicant to submit a police clearance from the applicant’s country of residence, a medical certificate and a clearance from the National Bureau of Investigation.

The BI will also require the applicant to submit details on the Filipinos he/she intends to employ.

“We will now require them to submit… an individual notarized contract of employment of the Filipino employees,” Mr. Villalobos said, adding that they will also be asking applicants for the nature of work to be done by the Filipino employees as well as their Social Security System and PhilHealth membership cards.

He explained that the revision of the rules was done to make the implementation of EO 758 more effective.

“SVEG monitoring in terms of the employment of Filipinos was stepped up,” he said.

“Hopefully by next year, the bureau will be ready to accept applications for SVEG,” Mr. Villalobos said, adding that they are already working on fixing the payment collection system, disseminating the information to the different agencies and chambers of commerce in the country.

He said they are also in the process of distributing the checklist of requirements to the different ports and satellite offices of the bureau where they will accept applications for SVEG.

Article location : http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?Section=Economy&title=Rules on visas for foreign investors eased&id=43737

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