BI: 2020 revenue from immigration fees down 36%
MANILA, Philippines — Compared to 2019, total revenue from immigration fees dropped to P5.88 billion in 2020 as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) reported Monday.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the revenues collected from immigration fees last year was 36.1 percent lower than the record-high income of P9.3 billion the bureau posted in 2019.
“We anticipated our revenues to decrease due to the pandemic. With more foreign nationals going out of the country than going in, we were able to collect less revenue from visa applications,” Morente said in a statement.
Morente pointed out that transactions in the bureau were suspended for more than two months after the government declared a lockdown in March last year, causing the bureau’s revenue collections to dip.
Morente, however, said the bureau expects its revenue collection efforts to gradually return to normal this year as the country awaits the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine and once international travel restrictions are gradually lifted.
BI finance chief Judith Ferrera said the bureau was poised to post another record high income in 2020 if the pandemic did not break out.
Ferrera said the bureau started 2020 with collections amounting to P1.8 billion in January and February, but revenues dropped to P480 million in March with the implementation of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Ferrera bared that the BI sources the bulk of its revenues from visa processing and extension fees, fines and penalties, clearance and certification taxes, and immigration tax.
BI earlier reported that there was a 45-percent decrease in the number of Philippine tourist visa extensions last year – amid a global health crisis due to the pandemic.
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