Taiwan reviews extending visa-free entry for Philippine citizens

The visa-free entry policy was introduced in November 2017, and will expire at the end of July 2018

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(Image from World Visa News)

(Image from World Visa News)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The current visa-free entry policy for citizens of the Philippines coming to Taiwan is set to expire at the beginning of July, however the Taiwanese government is considering an extension of the policy, which has successfully increased tourism and business with the southern neighbor.

According to Philippine media, Alfred Wang, the economic director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Manila said that the government is likely to extend the visa-free entry based on the increase in arrivals from the Philippines since the policy was implemented.

While speaking at a “Meet Taiwan” event in Makati, Wang was quoted by the Manila Standard as saying,“this measure had a definite positive impact to both countries. We are now negotiating with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office to help us make this reciprocal, but nevertheless, Taiwan is seriously considering to extend the courtesy.”

The visa-free program was implemented Nov. 1, 2017 and will expire on July 31, 2018.

Compared to the number of arrivals in 2016, the number of Filipinos arriving in Taiwan in 2017 increased by approximately 68 percent, with only two months of the visa-free policy having been implemented, reports the Manila Bulletin.

Likewise in the first quarter of 2018 the number of arrivals from the Philippines has jumped by 73 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017, reports Malaya Business Insight.

Wang noted his hope that Taipei would renew the agreement, however currently the arrangement is not reciprocal. Taiwan has been petitioning Southeast Asian nations like the Philippines to allow visa-free entry for Taiwanese nationals, and may bring up the issue with Manila before a decision to extend the current visa-free entry program.

The “Meet Taiwan” event held over the past weekend in Makati, Philippines is part of the Taiwanese government’s campaign to increase exchanges between Taiwan and Southeast Asian nations via meetings, incentive travel, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE). To make the most of such events in promoting tourism and trade networks, the visa-free program is likely a crucial policy.

However, according to Malaya Business Insight, numbers indicate that Philippine citizens traveling to attend MICE events in Taiwan represent a relatively small number of Filipinos arriving to the country, only eight or nine percent.

The Philippines and Taiwan share a robust relationship in terms of trade and investment, while the Philippines is also an important source of labor for Taiwan, making the Philippines a crucial partner nation of the Tsai administration’s New Southbound Policy.