Permanent Resident status now being implemented but only for Chinese nationals; Indian nationals to follow next?

Hon. Marcelino C. Libanan, Commissioner of Immigration has signed Memorandum # MCL-07-021, dated Dec. 14 2007, allowing Chinese Nationals to become permanent residents. It has been approved by Justice Secretary Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez and has been transmitted to the U.P. law center, which maintains all legal issues implemented or being changed.

Under the memo, the following could apply for permanent residence status:

1. Anyone who has investment in the Philippines, or will invest.
2. Married to a Filipino national.
3. Married to any Permanent resident of the Philippines.
4. Son or daughter of a permanent Philippine resident.

The implementing rules and regulations {IRR} shall be ready within 30 days upon approval by the Justice department or within the month of January 2008. Atty. Roy Almoro, associate commissioner is in charge of the IRR. It was already published in a newspaper of general circulation last December 2007.

This would pave the way for thousands and thousands of Chinese nationals to become permanent residents. The present immigration rule allows a limit of 50 persons per country. Exempted are the Chinese and the Indian nationals. They have zero quotas. The upcoming immigration bill, hopefully to be changed would allow a new limitation of 200 per country. The present bill is the 1940 version, updated many times through memos and orders. Two immigration amnesties, one in 1988 and the other in 1995, also allowed many illegal or “not properly documented” to become permanent residents. There is a proposal for another amnesty but it is always a legal battle among law makers when it comes to any amnesty.

Many Indian nationals are now awaiting such a change of government policy to be allowed for them also. So is it possible?

As a backgrounder, the statement made by Mr. Guo Shoachun, Counselor and Consul general, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, in an official communication to the Immigration outlined the policies of the Chinese government allowing Filipinos certain immigration facilities to stay permanently in China. This was the basis for the reciprocity act of the Philippine government.

India does allow permanent residence ship but on a different legal term. Indian citizenship is easier.

In case of India, Filipinos are granted Indian Citizenship facilities more easily and on a shorter period compared to Indians in the Philippines. As an example, a Filipino married to an Indian national, and staying in India for 5 years can get an Indian passport or citizenship on mere application. Payment is negligible. On the other hand, Indian nationals and those not born in the Philippines need a minimum stay of 10 years in the country prior to their application for Filipino citizenship. They have to file a petition to apply which needs one year to be effective, and then file in court. Granted that the judicial application is approved, the Indian national cannot travel out of the country for 2 years before the applicant reapply for final approval and implementation. Quite a tedious process.

Indian nationals born in the Philippines, upon reaching the age of 21 and with 3 years ITR documents can file for Filipino citizenship. It takes less than a year for the total process. Quick but expensive, since it has a legal fees of about US$ 4,000 beside lawyers fees. Many have successfully being granted Filipino citizenship.

Back to the issue of allowing residence for Indian nationals. Presently a 5 years stay under the so called TRV system, or Temporary Resident visa is allowed for those married to permanent residents or Filipinos. Processing is faster now but they have to cough up the payment for 5 years visa fees in advance. Quite a sum, but then they are allowed exit and entries without need to apply for entry visas, each time they wish to enter the country. This 5 years TRV status in presently only given to Indian nationals, and would be extended to the Chinese soon, subject to approval, who presently enjoy only 2 years TRV status.

More update soon.