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Retiring to the Philippines – An Affordable Dream!

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Living in a country comprised of over seven thousand beautiful, sun-kissed islands, it is not surprising that many foreign nationals who retire to the Philippines feel as if they are on permanent vacation. Good quality of living at an affordable price make it an ideal retirement haven, with housing, food and labor costs all substantially lower than in many other countries. But these are not all the country has to offer.

Filipinos are renowned throughout the world for their hospitality, and retirees will find a warm welcome waiting for them. They will also find communication very easy, since almost every Filipino can understand and speak some English, and the language is widely used on signs and official forms. In fact, in terms of population, the Philippines is one of the largest English-speaking nations in the world.

The country is also rightly proud of its world-class medical and health services, and in recent years has become a popular destination for medical tourism. Our highly trained medical personnel and caregivers are esteemed throughout the world, not only for their competence and expertise but most especially for the care and compassion they show to their wards.

To make it easier for expat retirees to settle here in the Philippines, the government, through the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA), has taken the initiative and produced the Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV), which has various packages available to foreign retirees.

 

The Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) is a special non-immigrant visa separate and distinct from the existing visa categories defined by the Philippine Immigration Act of 1940, as amended, and allied laws. (Sec. 1, Rule II of LOI 1470).

It has the following benefits:

  • Option to Reside Permanently – foreign nationals may live, retire and invest in the Philippines.

  • Multiple Entry Privileges – retirees may travel outside the Philippines, and re-enter anytime.

  • Holders of the visa are exempt from:

  • Exit clearance and re-entry permits of the Bureau of Immigration.

  • Annual registration requirement of the Bureau of Immigration.

  • Customs Duties and Taxes for the importation of personal effects and household goods up to US$7,000.00.

  • Travel tax, if stay in the Philippines is less than one year from the last entry date.

  • Special Study Permit.

  • Assistance in securing/obtaining documents from other Government Agencies such as:

  • Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE)- Alien Employment Permit

  • Land and Transportation Office (LTO) – Driver’s License

  • National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)

  • Department of Foreign Affairs (DOF)- Tax Exemption/ Extension Certificate

  • Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) – Tax Identification Number

  • Tax-Free remittance of Annuities and Pensions

  • Guaranteed Repatriation of the Requisite Time Deposit

 

MFBR’s specialist Immigration & Visa Department, which is accredited with both the Bureau of Immigration and The Philippine Retirement Authority, will be happy to assist any foreign national with their application for a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa. With the benefits on offer, it is perhaps not surprising that it is becoming evermore popular; and with glorious locations such as the one in the photograph accompanying this article (Balabac, Palawan, by Chris Tagupa @ Unsplash), the Philippines is deservedly becoming a very popular retirement haven.

By: Atty. Jasmin Fiel-Samson

 

 

For more details on the Special Resident Retirees Visa (SRRV), the Philippine Retirement Authority’s Information Guide is available on our website here.

For more information and assistance with obtaining this or other visas and work permits, please contact us.


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Expecting a child? Attorney Jasmin Fiel-Samson looks at maternity leave entitlements

The Law Firm of Mallari Fiel Brillante Ronquillo

They say that it takes an entire village to raise a child. As a first time mom, now more than ever I begin to understand the truth behind this saying. It is recognized in almost all parts of the world that parents need time to bond with and raise a child. Currently, here in the Philippines, after giving birth mothers are given maternity leave of 60 or 78 days depending on whether the birth was a vaginal delivery, or through a C-section. The said leave is with pay. It must be noted though that our country has the lowest number of paid maternity leave days in Southeast Asia, well below the 98-day recommendation of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Vietnam offers 180 days, while Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia offer 90 days of maternity leave. On the other hand, the father of the newborn child here in the Philippines is given paternity leave to bond and take care of his newborn child along with his wife. Said paternity leave is also with pay but lasts for seven days only. Bonding with the new-born child, especially during these first few months, is of paramount importance to both parents. Hopefully, the House of Representatives will finally approve and pass the counterpart bill of Senate Bill (SB) No. 1305 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act. It has been a year since SB 1305 was passed in the Senate. Then it will still have to undergo a bicameral committee hearing before a final proposal is submitted for the Philippine president’s signature. The Expanded Maternity Leave Act has the following salient features:
  • All female workers, regardless of civil status or ‘legitimacy’ of their child, shall be granted 120 days maternity leave with pay and an option to extend it for another 30 days without pay.
  • If the mother qualifies as a solo parent under R.A. 8972 she shall be granted a total of 150 days maternity leave with pay.
  • Fathers would also benefit from the measure if passed into law, as it seeks to grant them 30 days of leave – more than the allowed 7 days of paid leave under Republic Act 7322.
  • Under the bill, 30 of the 120 days can be transferred to alternate caregivers, such as the spouse, common-law partner, and relative up to the 4th degree of consanguinity, including adoptive parents.
  • The full payment shall be advanced by the employer within 30 days from the filing of the maternity leave application.
  • Workers availing themselves of the maternity leave and benefits must receive not less than 2/3 of their regular monthly wages.
  • Employers from the private sector shall be responsible for payment of the salary differential between the actual cash benefits received from the Social Security System (SSS) by the covered female workers and their average weekly or regular wages, for the entire duration of the ordinary maternity leave, with some exceptions.
  • Employees who avail themselves of this benefit shall be assured of security of tenure. This cannot be used as basis for demotion in employment or termination. The transfer to a parallel position or reassignment from one organizational unit to another in the same agency shall be allowed, provided it shall not involve a reduction in rank, status, or salary.
We can only remain hopeful that said law will be passed soon for it is a start. But in future let’s hope our lawmakers take their inspiration from countries such as Sweden which grant awesome benefits to both rearing parents.

The Law Firm of Mallari Fiel Brillante Ronquillo


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