BY: Eden Pabalan
As the Philippine BPO Industry expands, foreign investors continue to inject capital and resources into the economy, resulting in job creation for the local work force. A key to this unprecedented growth is the recently developed SVEG, short for Special Visa for Employment Generation, a non-immigrant visa which is enabling foreigners to create business opportunities in the Philippine market.
The Global Economic Crisis has never been a better time for the SVEG to be approved for the benefit of foreign investors in the Philippines. On November 17, 2008, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed for the approval of the Executive Order 758, which created the SVEG that enables foreigners to indefinitely reside in the Philippines. The government enforced this executive order primarily because of the difficulty among foreign investors in setting up their business in the Philippines and staying here for long to manage it. Unlike the Pre-Arranged Employee Visa (9G),SVEG is as permanent as an investor’s business.
SVEG has many privileges, and one of them is for the SVEG holder to be allowed to enter and depart from the country freely even for multiple times. It saves foreigners the hassle of renewing their professional visas and makes estalishing their business in the country easier. Those who hold the SVEG are considered special non-immigrants and do not need to immediately depart from the country after a specified time.
Many small, medium-sized, and large foreign companies are applying for the SVEG. In September 2009, The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), EEI Corp., Fontana Dev’t Corp. (FDC), SamSung Multi-English Company, Cathay Builders Center Inc., Fort Ilocandia Land Dev’t Co., Ilocos Norte Mining Co., and SME Networks Phils. Training Center have become some of the latest holders of the SVEG. Koreans have topped the list of holders of the visa followed by Chinese nationals. Western expats are also increasing in number.
According to Gregory Kittelson, Managing Director of Kittelson and Carpo Consulting, “Our Visa Consultants are now recommending the SVEG to foreign clients looking to invest in the Philippine BPO industry. The visa offers unique advantages to foreign nationals, while also creating numerous job opportunities for working Filipinos.”
There are some requirements when availing of an SVEG. It is necessary for a foreigner to engage in a sustainable investment or enterprise in the Philippines, which can hire at least 10 employees and can be productive. While the 9G is for professionals working in the country for a short period of time, the SVEG is a foreigner’s pass to permanent residency in the Philippines.
There are steps to get an SVEG. One must pass an application for SVEG and it will be reviewed and evaluated by the immigration for 15 working days. Once approved, the Bureau of Immigration will provide a notice of approval, pending the submission of processing payments and other necessary documents. Then applicant will then be given an Alien Certification of Registration (ACR) I-Card and an Identifiction Certification (IC). If disapproved, the foreign-applicant may file for a Motion for Reconsideration for the immigration to review the application.
There are firms which specialize in assisting investors in SVEG application and in their business registration. Kittelson and Carpo Consulting assists foreign investors who want to start their business in the Philipppines and provide other services part from visas such as business registration, tax incentives, recruitment and general business consulting.
The right time to register business in the Philippines is now. As of September 2009, a total of 140 companies were already given a SVEG, with 217 principal applicants and 120 dependents. A total of 30,300 Filipino full-time and regular employees are working with the registered companies. This provided the country over P4.3 Million in revenue for the bureau.