Sunday, 11 April 2010

Koreans keen on job visa

Joel Zurbano
Manila Standard

South Korean businessmen are setting up English teaching centers in the Philippines in exchange for a special visa that guarantees them indefinite stay in the country, according to the Immigration bureau.

At least 112 of the 128 South Koreans who have availed themselves of the special visa-for-job program have invested in English schools, Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said.

Most of the schools operate in urban areas such as Metro Manila, Baguio City, Cebu City and Davao City, Libanan said. A language school requires a minimum capital of P5 million, including classroom and books.

These English schools cater to the Koreans, Libanan said. In a way, the Koreans are cashing in on the influx of their compatriots in the Philippines, he said. They are tapping the Filipinos for their English proficiency, not to mention the lower cost of labor here, he added.

There are around 60,000 non-immigrant Koreans in the Philippines, most of them using a visitor’s visa good for three months but renewable.

The bureau started issuing the special visa in April last year on the strength of an executive order President Arroyo signed on Nov. 17, 2008. As of last March, 485 foreigners and their dependents have already obtained the special visa.

The investor visa grants indefinite stay to foreigners —including their dependents —who have invested in business enterprises employing 10 or more regular and full-time Filipino workers.

According to lawyer Cris Villalobos, head of the SVEG one-stop-shop, the new visa program has so far created jobs for 30,000 Filipino workers.

Villalobos said that other visa applicants have ventured into business process outsourcing including call centers.

Libanan said the Tourism, Trade and Labor departments have supported the visa program by way of promotional efforts using their respective units abroad.

Under the rules, a foreigner applying for the special visa must certify that he or she maintains a lawful immigration status in the Philippines; is engaged in a viable and sustainable business; exercises managerial acts with authority to employ or promote or dismiss employees; and shows genuine intention to remain in the country indefinitely.


  1. SVEG is a brilliant way of attracting foreign investors, though some people took advantage of it. We need to be strict in granting SVEG to foreign investors, the law shall be followed.

  2. Wow, there are really a lot of Koreans who are interested on moving in to the Philippines. Good thing there is already the SVEG, which is really a great help for foreign investors.

  3. Good New's that many South Koreans are investing here in our country :) it could benefit us, but we must be also vigilant or strict with these investors regarding SVEG, Visa, etc.