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Immigration Law in Philippines May Be Updated

The Philippine Immigration Act of 1940  needs to be updated.  House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. recently expressed his desire to have the current immigration law in the Philippines conform with the requirements of national security and economic development.

Photograph of a passport with airplane boarding pass. isolated on white.


“The 70-year-old law has gone through several piecemeal amendments and revisions but is still inadequate at meeting the pressing demands of the changing times,” he said.

He said updating the immigration law should be “one of the priorities the incoming Congress should consider.”

“We have to create a more effective immigration enforcement agency and, in the process, strike a balance between protecting the people from undesirable aliens while providing channels to benefit the country in terms of tourism and investment opportunities,” he said.

The Speaker wants  the Bureau of Immigration to be reorganized and converted into a commission with expanded jurisdiction and streamlined powers. He wants red tape eliminated and desires more efficiency and effectiveness in the bureaucracy.

“We need to introduce major changes to the old systems and procedures of immigration used in the country and make them more responsive to current concerns,” he said.

He also proposed the creation of more visa categories for foreign investors. Bureau of Immigration Manila

(Bureau of Immigration Manila. Photo source: wikimapia.org)

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said he fully supports calls to change the present immigration act as he urged the next Congress to prioritize the passage of a Philippine immigration law.

In a statement, David said the enactment of a new immigration law is already long overdue, adding that the present 1940 immigration act is antiquated and no longer attuned to present realities. 

“We are throwing our full support behind moves in Congress to pass an immigration act that will not only spur our economic development but also bolster our ability to thwart the entry of undesirable aliens into our country,” the BI chief said.

The commissioner was reacting to the recent statement of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. that passing a new immigration act should be one of the priorities of the incoming Congress. 

David lamented that his predecessors have all lobbied for a new immigration act but bills filed for the purpose failed to draw the needed support from lawmakers.

“We are optimistic that under the leadership of Speaker Belmonte, the next Congress will finally pass this long awaited law,” he said.

David said a reorganized BI will usher in the birth of a “modern, efficient, and professionalized” Philippine immigration service.

Hard to predict what impact any proposed changes in the Philippine Immigration law would have on the expat community.  The statements from House Speaker Belmonte are general and don’t deal with any specific changes that I can see. Of course, I’m sure most of us would agree that any reduction of the red tape and bureaucracy would be most welcome.   

 (Sources: philSTAR.com and The Bureau of Immigration website.)

7 thoughts on “Immigration Law in Philippines May Be Updated”

  1. Thanks for the update Dave… The Philippines is having so much trouble with expats now that it is very possible they will pass a reform immigration Law. Will that be good for us who are now living here? Only God knows that. Wait and see, just like everything else here in the Philippines. 🙂

  2. Hi Steve: A lot of expats cause trouble. They try to bring their home country with them and want to change the way things are done here. Many treat their wife or girl friend badly. A few just break the law here. We are not God’s gift to the Philippines!!! I am happy here and enjoy my life. Is it perfect? Nope but then the good old USA isn’t perfect.

    I am a guest here. I can’t change the way things are done here and don’t want to try. Many try and it doesn’t turn out well for them.

  3. Dave,
    I know it took a lot for you to bite your tongue and not say something to the Easter European. Normally you would have said something to embarrass Melinda lol. Up in Ohio now enjoying the cooler weather. High 75F today.

  4. Dave: I just have to say a few things about the recent changes and the proposed revision of the Immigration Law. I believe that changes are badly needed to the base Immigration Law to bring it into the 2000’s. However changes should be measured so that they don’t complicate matters more for those of us who are law abiding and enjoy our lives here and contribute to society in so many ways. Yes, there is a desperate need to cut red tape. For example the recent changes for the 13A make it considerably more difficult for new applicants now being required to get a Police Clearance from your ‘home’ jurisdiction and then have it certified by the Consulate or Embassy closest to your former home. And then requiring those of us who have been here more than 6 months to also get an NBI clearance. To say nothing about having to get a “Certified Copy” of your Government Issued Marriage Certificate from your home jurisdiction and having it re-certified by the Consulate or Embassy in your home country if you weren’t married here in Philippines as She Who Must be Obeyed and I were. That is needless Red Tape in my opinion and makes trying to become a Permanent Resident so much more of an additional challenge and hassle that it’s probably not worth the time, effort and additional costs involved. Might as well enjoy life under the Balikbayan Privilege and be done with it…In any event, you know how I’ve been ‘talking’ about this for 3 years now and frankly I’ve now pretty well decided not to pursue the 13A because of too much red tape and travel involved in having to go the Manila and spending weeks at a time there, sending original documents to the Consulate in Toronto and waiting for months on end for any answers or feedback, to say nothing of getting a Police Clearance from your home jurisdiction when you haven’t been there in 3 or more years…ridiculous. All that makes the cost of leaving the country once a year to satisfy the Balikbayan regs much more palatable and likely affordable.

  5. Ah, I see.

    Several women on Cherry Blossoms have told me about “sexpats”. These men fill the women with all kinds of promises until they get sex and then suddenly remember they are married and can’t contact them anymore.

    Wow, I’m surprised the Filipina’s family did not introduce her husband to Uncle Bolo after that event.

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