The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has blacklisted 21 Chinese nationals who overstayed in the Philippines after availing the government’s Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) program.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the blacklist order after the agency ordered the foreign nationals to immediately leave the country after they paid the imposed fees, fines, and penalties.
“As a consequence of their being placed in our blacklist, these foreigners are now barred from re-entering the Philippines for violating the conditions of their stay,” Morente said.
According to the Commissioner, the aliens overstayed their visas without valid justification, violating the terms and conditions of the VUA program.
The government launched the program three years ago to attract more Chinese tourists into the country.
Reports said the 21 aliens arrived in the country on separate dates last December 2019 and January after the BI approved their applications for the VUA program.
Under the program, Chinese tourists are could stay here for three months, but extendible to another three months, bringing their maximum stay to 6 months.
However, because of the coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China, BI amended the VUA program in January and limited the Chinese nationals’ stay in the country to 30 days only.
“(They must show a) roundtrip ticket. If they’re coming in as tourists, they must have booked accommodations for every stop in their itinerary. The tour operator must be, of course, accredited, and the tour operator must provide all the details where they will be staying, [or show] proof of accommodations,” Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete said.
The amendment also prohibits the conversion of visas.
“You cannot convert the visa into a work visa, for example, or into a resident’s visa,” said Perete.
The new VUA program is open to Chinese nationals who are members of tour groups organized by tour operators accredited to the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT), business people endorsed by local and foreign chambers of commerce and other government agencies, athletes, and delegates to conventions and exhibitions.
Applicants cannot appear on the BI’s blacklist or be subject to an Interpol red notice. According to the new rules, interested Chinese nationals may, through their tour operator, apply for their landing visas at the BI for an initial authorized stay of 30 days with the provision for an extension up to a maximum period of six months.