PRA suspends processing of Special Resident Retireeâs Visas amid review
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PRA suspends processing of Special Resident Retiree’s Visas amid review

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - October 23, 2020 - 6:08pm

MANILA, Philippines— The Board of Trustees of the Philippine Retirement Agency, an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, on Friday announced the suspension of issuance of the Special Retirees Residence Visa (SRRV) pending a review and possible amendments.

“Pending the ongoing review of the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa Program and the Authority’s compliance with the directives set forth by the Philippine Retirement Authority’s Board of Trustees during the Board Meeting held on 23 October 2020, the public is hereby advised that the acceptance and processing of Applications for NEW Special Resident Retiree’s Visa at the PRA Head Office and all Satellite Offices is suspended beginning 23 October 2020 until further notice,” Bienvenido Chy, general manager and CEO of PRA said in an advisory.

The board conducted a special meeting on Friday and directed the PRA to review its policies on the minimum age and dollar deposit requirements, and the conversion of these deposits into allowable investments.

The assessment of the retirement policies and the suspension of the SRRV applications came after Sen. Nancy Binay called for a review after learning at a hearing on the Department of Tourism budget on Monday that the program includes retirees as young as 35 years old.

The age qualification has been implemented by the PRA since 1993, when it was lowered from 50.

Binay, as well as Senators Richard Gordon and Joel Villanueva, raised concern over the likelihood that Chinese nationals with SRRV and applicants between 35 to 49 years old are actually Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) workers.

70,520 foreign retirees with SRRVs

Following this, the PRA submitted its report to Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat for detailing the age qualification of SRRV holders including data and profile of retirees.

As of Dec. 31, 2019, the PRA recorded a total of 70,520 retirees in the Philippines.

Of which, around 26,969 are Chinese nationals who are also holders of SRRV including principal retirees as well as their spouses and dependents.

On the other hand, of the total active principal retirees, around 40% or 10,813 are Chinese with 54% of them in the 35 to 49 age group.

The Chinese nationals are trailed by Koreans with 13,912 enrolled retirees, followed by India with 5,971,Taiwan with 4,801 and Japan with 3,590.

Meanwhile, there are 3,615 retirees from the United States, 1,836 from Hong Kong, 1,571 from Great Britain, 778 from Germany and 743 from Australia.

Based on her previous directives, Puyat, chair of the PRA, will likewise implement an enhanced program to regularly monitor the profiles and activities of active SRRV holders in coordination with other government agencies, such as the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

She also directed the PRA to coordinate with the Tourism Promotions Board for the formulation and review of the retirement agency’s marketing and product development plans, and the benchmarking of its retirement program with other countries.

“The Board agreed to reconvene on November 6, 2020 to tackle these urgent policy reforms,” the DOT said.

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