MANILA, Philippines — In a bid to boost foreign investments in the country amid the global economic crisis, the Bureau of Immigration has begun implementing an indefinite visa program that would allow foreign investors and businessmen who employ at least 10 Filipino workers to stay in the Philippines.
Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said the BI started accepting petitions for a Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG) to qualified foreigners after the program’s implementing rules and regulations came into effect on March 9.
Libanan earlier issued a memorandum prescribing the rules for the SVEG, which was created pursuant to Executive Order No. 758 that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed on November 17, 2008.
A one-stop shop has been created in the bureau to receive, screen, and process applications for SVEGs before forwarding them to the Board of Commissioners for approval, Libanan said in a statement.
BI legal officer Cris Villalobos, who was named head of the one-stop shop, said a qualified SVEG applicant would initially be issued a probationary one-year visa before being given an indefinite visa.
The visa application fee is P3,520 plus P6,000 upon issuance of the visa, he said.
Villalobos said a visa holder would be required to get an I-Card which would cost $50 (about P2,400) and pay an express lane fee of P500.
The implementing rules provide that a SVEG shall be issued to a foreigner with controlling interest in a company or entity engaged in a business activity, enterprise or industry that employs at least 10 full-time and regular Filipino workers on a long-term basis in the Philippines, he said.
The Filipino workers must be employed either in managerial, executive, professional, technical, skilled or unskilled positions.
An applicant shall submit, among others, a notarized letter request, copy of passport with updated stay, the company’s articles of incorporation and general information sheet, proof of applicant’s investment, and clearances from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the BI.
Where necessary, the applicant will submit an alien employment permit (AEP) from the Department of Labor and Employment, which shall issue a certification that the foreigner employs at least 10 Filipinos.
Moreover, the applicant shall certify that he or she maintains a lawful immigration status in the Philippines; is engaged in a viable and sustainable business; exercises managerial acts with authority to employ, promote and dismiss employees; and evinces a genuine intention to indefinitely remain in the country.
Proof must also be attached to the application showing that the Filipinos employed by the applicant were receiving benefits under the Labor Code such as social security and Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and Pag-Ibig housing fund coverage.–Jerome Aning, Philippine Daily Inquirer