Five departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were intercepted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after failing to present work or employment visas.
Earlier, the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) reported that the five male passengers were intercepted at the NAIA 3 terminal last November 21 before they could board their Emirates flight to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The OFWs were subjected to secondary inspection after BI officers noticed that they were all traveling on UAE tourist visas but were also in possession of valid OECs.
When interviewed, the OFWs said their recruiters told them that their papers would be converted to working visas upon their arrival in UAE, provided they tested negative COVID-19 at the Dubai airport.
They also revealed that they were recruited to work as painters and pipe installers in the emirate.
They were later advised to secure the appropriate employment visa before they could leave the country.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente OFWs should present complete travel and work documents before departure.
Morente said current rules mandate that departing OFWs must secure the country’s necessary employment visa where they are destined to work.
The BI chief also said that possession of a valid overseas employment certificate (OEC) from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is not enough to allow an OFW to leave if the latter does not have a working visa.
5 OFWs without work visa intercepted at NAIA
Morente noted that OFWs traveling on tourist visas are not allowed to leave under the revised guidelines on departure formalities for international passengers set by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
Meanwhile, Malacañang announced Friday that the government would allow foreign spouses of Filipinos and their children traveling with them to enter the country starting December 7.
The children will be allowed to enter the Philippines regardless of age, Palace spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Moreover, Roque said that the IATF had ordered the Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Tourism to craft the guidelines.
“The foregoing is without prejudice to immigration laws, rules and regulations such that the Commissioner of Immigration shall have the exclusive prerogative to decide on waiver or recall of exclusion orders for the above foreign nationals, including other foreign nationals who have entered the Philippines by virtue of Inter-Agency Task Force resolutions,” the IATF said.