IMMIGRATION to the United States remains popular among Filipinos, internal data from a US-founded visa processing service firm revealed.
RapidVisa Philippines said that 95 percent of its 20,000 successful immigrants to the US since 2010 are Filipinos while the rest are from China, Colombia, and Mexico, among others.
“The market for immigration in the Philippines is very dynamic,” said RapidVisa Cebu customer service manager Jerome Hermosilla. Amid the growing Philippine economy, which authorities believe is giving Filipinos opportunities in their home country, migrating abroad remains to be a popular choice.
To cater to the growing number of applicants, both online and walk-in, RapidVisa opened its second office in the country at the 12th floor of Park Centrale in Cebu IT Park yesterday, after the first one in Manila started operations six years ago.
RapidVisa offers document preparation and filing services on fiance visa, spousal visa, parent visa, and green card applications to the US. It maintains offices in China, Manila, and Cebu and was first founded in 2009 by a member of the US Airforce from Colorado who got married to a Filipina.
Unlike other visa processing service companies, Hermosilla said RapidVisa can carry out applications online, but it can also accommodate walk-in clients by appointment.
RapidVisa prides of its 99.7 percent approval rate with visa processing time of five to six months at a fee of $350 to $500, said to be affordable, if not the most affordable, in the industry, said Hermosilla.
“The volume pushed us to consider the idea of expanding (in Cebu),” Hermosilla said. On average, RapidVisa processes 400 applications each month. He expects this to grow in the future.
According to a Washington-based think tank Migration Policy Institute, Filipino immigrants constitute one of the largest foreign-born groups in the US. “Since 1990, the Philippines has been consistently among the top five countries of origin, and was the fourth largest in 2013, accounting for 4.5 percent of the 41.3 million total immigrant population in the US,” it said.
With Donald Trump’s rhetorics against immigrants, the RapidVisa official refused to comment on it, but believes that immigration to the US has helped propel the world’s largest economy to where it is now.
If elected president, Trump could likely limit immigration from certain parts of the world.
Most Filipino migrants in the US today obtain lawful permanent residence (LPR), also known as receiving “green card” through family reunification channels, either as immediate relatives of US citizens or through employment-based channels.
Aside from Filipinos, top migrants in the US are Mexicans, Indians, and Chinese.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 05, 2016.
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