With only two months before ending its operations in the Philippines, the Swedish Embassy in Manila on Wednesday said it has stopped receiving new applications for residence and work permits.
In an announcement posted on its website, the Swedish embassy in Manila said it has no more time slots for interviews for residence and work permits until its closure on May 31.
It said that its embassy in Thailand will take over the applications for residence and work permits from the Philippines. The embassy also said the new procedure will be posted on the website as soon as it is completed.
“The time slots for interview for a residence and work permit are fully booked until the closure of the Embassy of Sweden on May 31, 2008. Thus the Embassy cannot accept any new applications,” it said.
“It will be the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok that will take over the applications for residence and work permits from the Philippines,” it said.
Earlier, the Swedish side said the decision to close the embassy is part of a Swedish foreign ministry review of its organizations abroad.
“This is an ongoing process which sometimes leads to Sweden opening new or closing existing embassies and consulates. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs must also adapt its organization abroad to its budget and meet the demands for streamlining that apply to all ministries and government agencies,” the embassy said in another statement.
The Philippine government has expressed its regrets over the decision.
“Our investments are increasing, and our tourism exchanges are rising,” Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said in a statement.
“In addition to the economic and consular imperatives, the Philippines and Sweden cooperate on many issues of mutual concern and significance such as counter-terrorism, migration, human trafficking, development cooperation, interfaith dialogue and health,” he added.
Nevertheless, Romulo said the Philippine Embassy in Stockholm will not be closed and will continue to operate.
“The Department wished to reassure the public that the Philippine Embassy in Stockholm will continue to strengthen the bridges of friendship and partnership between the Philippines and Sweden,” he said.