Bureau of Immigration in civil war over suspected Clark Freeport visa scam

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Bureau of Immigration Bares Visa Scam at Clark Freeport Says BI Angeles City Officers – www.philippineslifestyle.com

Staff at the Bureau of Immigration in Angeles City have asked Commissioner Siegfred Mison to investigate the processing of visa extensions for Chinese workers at a Clark Freeport firm.

Officer Janice Christine Corres has been accused of the violation – she has called the accusations “untrue and without basis.”

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“I am willing and ready to face and fully participate in any proper investigation to bring out the truth in these malicious imputations,” she said.

Chief Executive Office Manuel Sequeira of Fontana Leisure Estat, said the firm’s transactions with BI officials were “above board”.

He noted that Corres’s husband is an employee of the Fontana Leisure Estate through an extended corporation known as Jumei International – he was authorised to facilitate the applications for visa extensions of high-rollers and those hired by Jemiei’s Next Gaming for online gaming and call centre operations in Clark Freeport.

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So far, the complaint has been signed by 11 personnel of the BI field office and was sent to Mison on after being notarised by the complainants.

The group says that Corres, an alien control officer, approves 100 to 200 visa extensions weekly “without the personal appearances of the foreign applicants and often without sufficient documentary requirements.”

The fingerprints of applicants appear on immigration clearance certificates despite their nonappearance, giving BI no way to find out if they are authentic.

“This is a clear violation of an immigration law that states that only authorized BI personnel should take fingerprints,” they said.

Corres said no irregularities could be committed because the BI field office uses a step-by-step system where transactions are logged at every point. “Everything is transparent and cannot be edited,” she said.

Sequeira said Fontana was willing to open its records to prove that everything was aboveboard.

He disputed the volume of visas cited by the BI personnel, but said online gaming and the call centre employ 500-600 workers.

BI personnel cited conflict of interest, referring to the role of Albert Corres, Jimei’s airport and VIP services manager, in the transactions.

“Every time applications for extension are lobbied… their usual reason is that these will be used in the application of the foreigners’ special work permit or special Clark working visas, though they know for a fact that these are beyond our jurisdiction and that these should be processed by the BI Clark One-Stop-Shop,” they told Mison.

Albert said he has been transacting with BI even before he married his wife. “Our transactions are official and regular to protect our guests and employees and the integrity of Jimei,” he said.

The BI employees said they were aware of the leniency given to Fontana but expressed worry over the volume of applications Albert brings to the agency.

“It is highly dubious that all passports are indeed from Chinese nationals entitled to the leniency afforded to Fontana Leisure Estate,” they told Mison.

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