What is the change? The Bureau of Immigration has created a technical working group to review and improve existing procedures, document requirements and processing timelines with an eye toward cutting red tape in immigration services. Additionally, the bureau’s Board of Commissioners is now fully seated, with the recent appointment of two new deputy commissioners by President Rodrigo Duterte.

What does the change mean? Employers and foreign nationals applying for visas, permits and immigration-related services should benefit from these reforms once they are implemented by the technical working group.

  • Implementation time frame: The group was due to submit a report to the Commissioner by July 31. Once the board approves the report, the group has 15 days to produce a citizen’s charter – an official statement of the bureau’s revised service standards.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas and permits.
  • Who is affected: All individuals seeking government-provided immigration services.
  • Impact on processing times: The purpose of the working group is to improve efficiency and reduce processing times and redundant document requirements.

Background: The working group will “re-evaluate, review, revise and improve the existing procedures, timeline and documentary requirements” of all Bureau of Immigration services, according to an immigration administrative order dated July 7.

In his inauguration speech June 30, Duterte directed all agency heads to simplify procedures and cut down processing times under the Anti-Red Tape Act, a 2007 law that aims to improve public services and reduce inefficiency and corruption.

BAL Analysis: The reforms will be a welcome development for companies that rely on foreign employees. The scope of the reforms will not be clear until the working group releases its report and citizen’s charter.

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About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seven offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP