|BI resumes issuance of quota visa|
MARCH 6, 2011
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) will resume the issuance of quota immigrant visas to certain foreign nationals following the release of new guidelines designed to prevent abuse of the said privilege.
Immigration officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma said he signed the memorandum circular prescribing the new guidelines five months after he suspended the issuance of quota visas amid reports of anomalies that allegedly attended their processing and approval under past administrations.
Ledesma justified the suspension as necessary to pave the way for the adoption of stricter measures to ensure that only legitimate and qualified applicants are granted such permanent visas.
“We needed to formulate guidelines on accountability, transparency and good governance with regard to the issuance of the quota immigrant visas to prevent abuse,” said Ledesma. He noted that the previous system was “prone to corruption and must be discarded.” Ledesma, a career BI official and author of several books on Philippine immigration laws, said the issuance of quota immigrant visas is provided under the 1940 Philippine Immigration Act.
The quota visa is issued only to nationals of countries which the Philippines has diplomatic relations and which grants the same immigration privileges to Filipinos under the principle of reciprocity.
Ledesma said under the new rules, only foreigners with special scientific, educational and technical skills and knowledge and those with viable investments in the Philippines can avail of the visa.
Only the BI commissioner may issue such visa, which cannot exceed 50 visas per foreign nationality every year.
Ledesma said the new guidelines are “no longer prone to abuse as they conform to the present administration’s thrusts to institute transparency and curb corruption in the bureaucracy.”
He said the BI will start accepting applications for the quota visa after a personnel order is issued designating the authorized immigration legal officers who would hear and screen such applications.