Palau Sessional Legislation
SEVENTH OLBIIL ERA KELULAU
RPPL NO. 07-38___
Tenth Regular Session, April 2007 (Intro. As H. B. No.7-162-10, HD3, SD2, CD1, PD1)
To add a new subchapter of Chapter 10, Title13 of the PNC to establish an elite resident visa for an elite class of non-citizens, and for related purposes.
THE PEOPLE OF PALAU REPRESENTED IN THE OLBIIL ERA KELULAU DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Short Title. This Act may be called the "Elite Resident Visa Act of 2007."
Section 2. Legislative Findings. The Olbiil Era Kelulau finds that the Republic of Palau should encourage affluent non-citizens to make the Republic of Palau their second home. The creation of an elite resident visa allowing for multiple entries will encourage an elite class of non- citizens to establish a second home in Palau. This Act provides for long-term multiple entry visas to enable elite resident visa holders to reside in the Republic of Palau, provided that they meet certain requirements. In order to ensure that elite resident visa holders and their dependents are utilizing this program for its intended purposes, visa holders and their dependents will not be eligible to work or own businesses in Palau. Such a program would promote economic development by encouraging both investment in private lands and cash expenditures with local vendors, contractors, and service providers.
Section 3. Amendment. Chapter 10 of 13 PNC shall hereinafter be amended to include the following new subsection:
"§1013. Elite resident visa program.
(a) There is hereby established an elite resident visa program which shall be under the direction of the Ministry of Finance and the Immigration Bureau shall clear all Visas, upon approval by the Ministry of Finance.
(b) A non-citizen applying for an elite resident visa shall meet the following criteria:
(1) The non-citizen shall have entered into a valid contract with a Palauan citizen, non-governmental entity wholly owned by a Palauan citizen, clan, family, or corporation, or business entity for the purchase or lease of a dwelling for the price of at least two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or more. To qualify under this subsection, the dwelling purchase must be made by cash payments. The non-citizen must pay the contract price in full prior to the issuance of an elite visa under this section.
(2) The non-citizen and any dependents who will be living with the non citizen in Palau shall not have been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude, and there shall not be any criminal charges of such offense pending against either the non-citizen or any dependents of the non-citizen who will be living with the non-citizen. Any non-citizen applicant for an elite resident visa shall be required to file an affidavit regarding his or her background, including but not limited to: convictions for felonies, convictions for crimes of moral turpitude, and any pending felony charges; and confirmation of applicant's income, assets, savings, liabilities and obligations. In addition, any applicant for an elite resident visa shall be required to authorize the release of any and all information necessary for a civil and criminal background check that shall be performed by the Minister prior to the issuance of an elite resident visa. The Director shall set a nominal processing fee for this background check in accordance with 6 PNC Chapter 1.
(3) The non-citizen shall have major medical health insurance, covering himself or herself, and any dependents who will be living with the non-citizen in Palau, to prevent any medical costs being incurred by the Republic on behalf of the non-citizen or any of his or her dependents residing in the Republic of Palau. The non-citizen applicant must also demonstrate that he, she, or any of his or her dependents living in the Republic of Palau under an elite tourist visa are entirely covered for any and all healthcare expenses, including pre-existing conditions, by his or her medical insurance.
(4) Non-citizens holding elite resident visas shall not be permitted any discounted medical services in the Republic of Palau, and shall remain liable for the full cost of any healthcare service incurred by the non-citizen or his or her dependents residing in the Republic on an elite resident visa.
(5) An applicant for an elite resident visa must demonstrate to the Bureau, prior to the issuance of the elite resident visa and thereafter, annually, on the anniversary of such issuance, that he or she has adequate financial means with which to support himself or herself, and any of his or her dependents that shall reside in the Republic of Palau under his or her elite resident visa.
(c) An elite resident visa to visit the Republic shall be valid for a period of ten years and valid for unlimited multiple entries into the Republic. The visa shall be renewable at the end of every ten year period upon a showing that the visa holder continues to meet the criteria set forth in subsection (b) of this Section.
(d) The fee for issuing an initial elite resident visa shall be twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), payable to the National Treasury; the fee is non-refundable. The renewal fee shall be ten thousand dollars ($10,000), payable to the National Treasury; the renewal fee is non-refundable. The number of non-citizens that may hold a current elite resident visa at any time shall be limited to one thousand (1,000).
(e) Dependents of an elite resident visa holder shall be issued elite resident dependent visas that shall expire simultaneously with the corresponding elite resident visa. For each such dependent visa, a non-refundable fee of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) shall be paid to the National Treasury. For the purposes of this Act, dependents shall be limited to spouses and children 21 years of age or younger. The twenty thousand dollar ($20,000) non-refundable fee for dependent children may be prorated at two thousand dollars ($2,000) per year for the period, or number of years, less than ten years and more than one year, until each dependent child reaches age 21.
(f) In addition to any of the grounds specified in 13 PNC Section 1006, the following shall constitute grounds for revocation of elite resident visas by the order of the President or the Minister of Finance:
(1) Conviction of a violation of any applicable laws regarding foreign investments;
(2) Where the purchase of the dwelling as required in Section 3(b)(1) is not finalized, the visa holder no longer lives in the purchased dwelling, or sells or otherwise disposes of the dwelling without purchasing another dwelling of equal or greater value;
(3) Where the visa holder no longer meets the requirements of Section 3(b)(1) for any other reasons;
(4) Where the visa holder cannot show a source of income adequate for self- support and support of dependents.
(5) Before any order of revocation becomes final, the visa holder shall be entitled to a hearing before the Minister of Finance or his or her designee, at which hearing the provisions of Subchapter 3 of 6 PNC, Chapter 1, shall apply.
(g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to allow the holder of an elite resident visa to be eligible for any additional right of entry into the Republic of Palau.
(h) A non-citizen applying for an elite resident visa may be denied such visa in accordance with the provisions set forth in 13 PNC Section 1005, as amended by RPPL No. 6-23.
(i) Upon the death of an elite tourist visa holder during the term of his or her elite resident visa, the elite resident visa may be transferred to a designated person for the remainder of the term of the deceased's elite resident visa, provided that all of the applicable requirements of this Act have been fulfilled by the deceased elite resident visa holder and by the transferee. The initial transfer fee for a transferred elite resident visa under this subsection shall be $5,000, payable to the National Treasury; this fee is non- refundable. A renewal of a transferred elite resident visa shall be subject to the renewal fees in subsection (d) of this Act.
(j) Holders of elite resident visas or their dependents shall not be eligible to hold a Labor Permit under Title 30 of the Palau National Code. Nothing herein shall be construed to exempt elite resident visa holders or their dependents from the requirements of the Foreign Investment Act.
(k) The Minister of Finance may promulgate regulations as may be appropriate to carry out the purposes of this Act."
Section 4. Effective Date. This Act shall take effect upon its approval by the President of the Republic of Palau, or upon its becoming law without such approval, except as otherwise provided by law.
PASSED: November 19, 2007
Approved this 1st day of December , 2007.
Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr.
Republic of Palau