Archive for November, 2011

U.S. E2 Treaty Investor Visas Are on the Rise in the Philippines

U.S. immigration lawyers in the Philippines are noticing a steady uptick in the number of E2 Treaty Investor Visas being issued out of the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  While technically a non-immigrant visa, an E2 visa allows people with a substantial amount of money to purchase entry into the U.S. and upon entering into the U.S. under this category, E2 visa holders are able to look for other opportunities which can lead to green cards and eventually U.S. citizenship.

An appeal to change PHL foreign ownership laws by CREBA

With regards to the foreign ownership laws by its neighboring Asian countries, the Philippines is lacking initiatives on amending its laws to respond to the current global trading.  According to The Chamber of Real Estate & Builders’ Associations, Inc. (CREBA), it is time for Philippine lawmakers to review the existing foreign ownership laws of the Philippines. For CREBA, they believe that allowing foreigners to own land in the Philippines will encourage foreign investors to put bigger and more substantial investments in the Philippines and attract the much-needed capital that will create a butterfly in the country. CREBA also stated that foreign investment will also promote additional opportunities for local businesses and employment and raise additional government revenues from taxes.

IT-BPO needs visibility and strategy to achieve growth

Even if the outlook towards the local IT-BPO remains positive to very positive by the respondents of a recent survey by the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and Outsource2Philippines (O2P), both organizations related with outsourcing Philippines, stated that the BPO-IT industry needs greater visibility both locally and internationally for the industry to meet high-end growth targets.

According to the 179 executives surveyed, more than just settling at the idea that the country is being optimistic about the growth of the industry, the BPO industry and the Philippine government still need to do more than just “sell” the industry. The BPO industry should also sell the attributes and opportunities for potential offshore staff and their influencers more while the Philippine government should create a plan to increase the visibility of local IT-BPO industries and its capabilities.

Those seeking the advice of unlicensed “immigration specialists” instead of licensed U.S. immigration lawyers in the Philippines should be forewarned that the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) has started to take an aggressive approach to combating these services as these individuals are not authorized to practice law in the United States and certainly not authorized to provide immigration assistance in the Philippines.According to the USCIS, aliens in need of assistance are easily victimized by these so-called specialists and instead of receiving the necessary help they require, they often fall into a worse position as a result
of erroneous advice.Often, these immigration specialists who can be found all over the Philippines and online, claim that they know somebody in the embassy or inside USCIS and because of their connections, they can guarantee that the applicant will receive a visa for an exceptionally high fee.  However, individual applicants should be warned in advance that not even U.S. immigration lawyers in the Philippines or in the U.S. can guarantee that an individual will have a successful visa approval and although it looks tempting, remember the wise old saying of “if it’s too good to be true, than it probably is.”

Finally, it is important to note that immigration specialists are not authorized to issue legal advice regarding U.S. immigration matters.  Examples of legal advice may include how to answer questions on immigration forms and the immigration options the applicant or petitioner may have.  It is equally important to remember that a specialist who is not a lawyer cannot represent you in court nor are specialists bound by the attorney-client privilege which means that anything you say to an attorney during the course of representation is confidential.  Thus, while a Philippine-based U.S. immigration lawyer (or any lawyer for that matter) is forbidden to divulge your secrets, no such rule applies to “specialists” who are not lawyers.

KMC MAG Group releases Real Estate Market Report Philippines for Q3 2011

Philippine real estate firm, KMC MAG Group has released its real estate market report Philippines or the real estate market research Manila for the Q3 of 2011.

The report contains summaries of the trends in commercial and residential real estate, as well as an office market overview in Metro Manila .

According to the report, the trend for the Q3 of 2011 are that rental rates of commercial spaces rose due to the increasing demand and low vacancy rates while the demand for residentials spaces surpassed the supply in the luxury residential market due to investments of the OFW and expat community. Also, the continuous construction of residential real estates has increased the overall vacancy rate in Metro Manila.

Real Estate Growth to increase through Tourism

In the recent 20th National Convention of CREBA or Chamber of Real Estate and Builders Association, leaders have pointed the significance of Real Estate and Tourism in Philippines’ economic growth. 

The Philippines Vice-President and the Chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Jejomar Binay, one of the first speakers in the convention, told that tourism is helping the real estate industry since late 2004. The demand for residential condominiums and resort-style houses, resorts, wellness centers, and retirement villages has increased.