Special Visa to Generate Employment

On 17 November 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Executive Order 758, providing for a 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 10 Filipinos in a lawful and sustainable enterprise, trade or industry.

Holders of the SVEG have multiple entry privileges, without need of prior departure from the Philippines. This means they can stay in the Philippines indefinitely, so long as they maintain the requirements. The conditions or requirements to avail of this visa are: (1) 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; (2) he evinces a genuine intention to indefinitely remain in the Philippines; (3) he is not a risk to national security; and (4) the foreigner’s commercial investment/enterprise must provide actual employment to at least 10 Filipinos. (See also: Primer)

There are 2.9 million Filipinos who are currently unemployed, according to the April 2008 survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO) quoted in E.O 758. This is roughly the same NSO figure for July 2008. “The employment rate estimated for July 2008 was 92.6 percent. This implies that nine in every 10 persons in the labor force were employed in July 2008.” Of course, you may have questions on these figures.

The issuance of the special visa may be an acknowledgment that domestic capacity to generate employment is not sufficient. Pinoy Entrepreneurs are not generating enough employment opportunities. Why grant foreigners this very liberal visa unless there’s really a need to cover the shortfall on employment? This may reflect the dependence on foreign capital, which is also reflected in the foreign remittances from our OFWs. On the other hand, it could be viewed as a welcome effort of the government to bolster domestic capacity. It really depends on whether you want to see the glass half-full or half-empty. What do you think?

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