The Philippine Retirement Agency (PRA) has been ordered to suspend the issuance of the special retirees residence visa (SRRV) pending the review and amendments of the policies on age and visa deposit requirements.
In a special meeting Friday, the agency’s board of trustees directed the PRA to review its policies on the minimum age and dollar deposit requirements, and the conversion of these deposits into allowable investments.
Based on its current policy, which had been implemented since 1993, the PRA accepts retirees who are at least 35 years old.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, who serves as PRA board chairperson, ordered the PRA to implement an enhanced program to regularly monitor the profile 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).
The agency was told to coordinate with the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) for the formulation and review of PRA’s marketing and product development plans, and the benchmarking of its retirement program with other countries
The board directed the suspension of the acceptance and processing of applications to join the SRRV program, and issuance of SRRV, pending PRA’s compliance with the directives.
The board agreed to reconvene on Nov. 6 to discuss urgent policy reforms.
Lawmakers on Monday questioned the low age floor of 35 years, saying there were security implications of having such young retirees, most of them from China.
Records presented during the Department of Tourism budget deliberation at the Senate, show that with 27,678, the Chinese top foreign nationals who choose the Philippines for their retirement and the majority of them are 35 years old.
Other foreign retirees include 14,144 South Koreans, 6,120 Indians, 4,851 Taiwanese, 4,016 Japanese, 3,704 Americans, 1,870 Chinese nationals from Hong Kong, 1,595 British, 792 Germans, 752 Australians, and 4,498 other nationalities.