The Bureau of Immigration (BI) confirmed that foreign nationals as young as 35 years old have been staying in the Philippines as retirees.
BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval, however, said on Wednesday, October 21, that the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA), an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, has jurisdiction over foreign retirees.
“There is a misconception na kapag foreign national under the Bureau of Immigration. There are a lot of entities that issue visas at isa iyan sa mga government agencies na nag-iissue ng visa,” Sandoval said during DZRH’s ACS Balita.
While not considered as permanent residents, Sandoval said that the foreign retirees have Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRR Visa), which allow them to stay in the Philippines for a long-period of time.
“Wala iyan expiry. They are considered parang residents dito, not permanent residents but long-term residents,” the BI official explained regarding the SRR Visa.
Sandoval also confirmed that the foreign retirees can acquire an Alien Employment Permit from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in order to apply for work in the Philippines.
In order to acquire an SRR Visa, she said that the PRA requires foreign retirees to invest or deposit a certain amount of money at a bank in the Philippines.
PRA General Manager Bienvenido Chy said that the agency allows entry of retirees, with ages 35 years old and above, who have at least US$ 50,000, around Php 2.5 million, worth of cash on hand
“Ang concept niya is, instead spending your retirement doon sa iyon home country, mas malaki yung makukuha ninyo na benefits dito sa Pilipinas. So dito ibubuhos yung retirement money,” Sandoval explained.
During a Senate hearing on the budget of DOT, Sen. Richard Gordon expressed concern after learning that the PRA allows foreigners, particularly Chinese nationals, as young as 35 years old to retire in the Philippines.
The concern of Gordon stems from the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.
Data provided by the PRA showed that 27,678 Chinese nationals from mainland China availed the SRR Visa, and entered the Philippines.