Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente ordered almost 3,000 erring Chinese to leave the Philippines for overstaying and violating their visa conditions.
Morente said that from January to October, a total of 2,736 Chinese nationals who were granted visas upon arrival did not leave on their scheduled departure date.
Under rules, VUA grantees are not allowed to extend their stay beyond 30 days.
“More than half of those who were ordered to leave were blacklisted from our country,” said Morente. “While some were unable to leave due to circumstance, following the cancellation of many flights due to the pandemic, those who stayed without sufficient basis were included in our blacklist,” he added.
Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched the VUA program three years ago to attract Chinese tourists and tour groups. The VUA allows them to travel to the Philippines and stay here for not more than 30 days, without the need to apply for visas at Philippine consulates in their places of origin.
“VUA arrivals account for only around 5% of total Chinese arrivals in the country,” said Morente. “Most of those who arrived already secured their entry visas from our foreign posts abroad,” he added.
Almost 3000 overstaying Chinese ordered to leave PH
The Immigration explained that VUA grantees apply for it through DOT accredited tour operators.
“The BI, however, in foresight suspended the implementation of the VUA in January, before the declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic, to slow down the arrival of Chinese tour groups,” BI said in a press release.
“The program remains suspended as the government continues to implement restrictions on the entry of foreign tourists due to Covid-19,” it added.
“However, the BI said that should the country of destination require a negative Covid-19 test certificate, the same must be prepared,” BI said.
“A round trip ticket will still be required for those who will be leaving under a tourist visa,” said Morente. “Travelers will likewise be required to sign a declaration acknowledging the risks of traveling, which will be given to them by the airline upon check-in,” he added.