On 17 November 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order No. 758 (full text), providing for a Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG) that would allow foreign investors to stay indefinitely in the Philippines under certain requirements. Here’s a primer on the SVEG:
What is the rationale for the SVEG?
It is founded on public interest, particularly on an aspect of employment generation for Filipinos. According to the April 2008 survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO), there are 2.9 million Filipinos who are currently unemployed. On the other hand, there are foreigners who want to maintain a lawful presence in the Philippines by actually directly or exclusively engaging in lawful, viable, and sustainable trade, business, industry, or activity offering local employment.
What is the Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG)?
The SVEG is a special visa issued to a qualified non-immigrant foreigner who shall actually employ at least ten (10) Filipinos in a lawful and sustainable enterprise, trade or industry. Qualified foreigners who are granted the SVEG shall be considered special non-immigrants with multiple entry privileges and conditional extended stay, without need of prior departure from the Philippines.
Who are covered by the benefits of the SVEG?
The privileges under the SVEG extend to the qualified foreigner, his/her spouse and dependent unmarried child/children below eighteen (18) years of age whether legitimate, illegitimate or adopted.
Who are the conditions that must be complied to avail of the SVEG?
Non-immigrant foreigners who wish to avail of the SVEG should comply with the following conditions:
- The foreigner shall actually, directly or exclusively engage in a viable and sustainable commercial investment/enterprise in the Philippines, exercises/performs management acts or has the authority to hire, promote and dismiss employees;
- He evinces a genuine intention to indefinitely remain in the Philippines;
- He is not a risk to national security; and
- The foreigner’s commercial investment/enterprise must provide actual employment to at least ten (10) Filipinos in accordance with Philippine labor laws and other applicable special laws.
These requirements must be continually satisfied by the foreigner for him/her to continue to be a holder of the SVEG.
What is the process of application for SVEG?
1. Upon payment of regulatory fees, the Commissioner of Immigration shall receive and resolve SVEG applications within 15 days from the date of filing.
2. Upon favorable review, the Commissioner of Immigration shall issue a Notice of Approval directing the foreigner-applicant to report for registration and documentation at the Bureau of Immigration. An Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) I-Card and an Identification Certification (IC) shall be issued upon payment of appropriate fees.
3. If the application is denied, the Commission shall issue a Notice of Disapproval informing the foreigner applicant of the denial of his application. The applicant may move to reconsider within 15 days from receipt of such disapproval.
4. The Commissioner of Immigration shall monitor the continued compliance by the foreigners of the requirements of the SVEG.
What are the grounds for revoking the SVEG?
The Commissioner of Immigration shall revoke the SVEG granted:
(i) If the SVEG holder fails to maintain compliance of any of the conditions stated above;
(ii) If it was obtained through fraud or willful misrepresentation of material facts;
(iii) Upon conviction of the foreigner by final judgment for a crime or offense in the Philippines; or
(iv) A final determination by competent authority that the foreigner poses a risk to national security.