Choosing Between the 9(g) Visa and SVEG

Many foreign nationals who want to invest or work in the Philippines are soon presented with visa considerations, and obtaining the correct visa is vital when it comes to the longevity of a business or personal employment contract; after all, a business owner must be visible when running the business, while it is clearly a must for all employees to be reporting for work routinely. These things are next to impossible to achieve if the right visa is not obtained.

The majority of visitors to the Philippines are granted the standard 21-day tourist visa, while others make their way to the Philippine Consulate in their home countries to file a request for a 59-day visa. However, while these options may be very practical from the point of view of actual tourists, potential employees and employers alike must find a way to legally stay in the country without resorting to having their tourist visas inconveniently extended every few months and incurring additional costs along the way.

The solution for many, therefore, falls under the Pre-Arranged Employees visa (also referred to as 9(g)) or working visa, which is arranged by an employer for the foreign national employee. A person working on a 9(g) visa is allowed multiple entry privileges in the country, while his visa privileges may be extended to dependents. In case the employer will not shoulder the expenses, then the prospective employee must apply for the visa and fulfill the requirements as set by the Bureau of Immigration, which include a notarized promise of employment, an Alien Employment Permit (AEP), any and all tax-related documents, and a copy of the clearance certificate as issued by the Bureau of Immigration, among others. Unfortunately, should the foreign national lose or quit his job, he will also lose his 9(g) visa and its associated privileges. He will also need to spend about P8,000 to convert his 9(g) visa to a tourist visa, with which employment of any kind is not permitted. Meanwhile, the Special Visa for Employment Generation (SVEG) is a special visa given to foreign nationals who intend to establish a business in the country. A foreign national is eligible to apply for an SVEG provided he employs at least ten Filipinos and abides by Philippine labor laws and other applicable special laws. Having an SVEG gives him the right for multiple entry privileges into the country, as well as an extended period of stay. Similar to the 9(g) visa, the privileges of an SVEG may be extended to the foreign national’s spouse and dependents. As with the 9(g) visa, however, there are consequences; the SVEG may be revoked if the establishment’s employees dwindle below the required number of ten, or if the foreign national violates the other requirements of the visa.

For foreign nationals who are not married to Filipino citizens, these two kinds of visas may be their best option for being legally permitted to remain in the country for an extended amount of time.

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