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8 more foreign nationals banned

Anthony Ching

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Eight more Chinese nationals were banned yesterday by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) from reentering after they were found to have been overstaying in the country.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente ordered their names be placed in the immigration blacklist.

“They did not leave before the lapse of their authorized stay without any valid reason or justification,” Morente said. “And it took them several months after they arrived before they manifested their intent to depart and return to their country.”

Based on immigration data record, the Chinese nationals arrived in the country on separate dates between November 2019 and January 2020. Each person was admitted for a non-extendable period of 30 days under the visa upon arrival (VUA) program.

VUA is a government scheme launched three years ago to draw more Chinese visitors to the country and to boost the tourism industry.

The scheme allows a VUA grantee the privilege to enter and stay in the country for 30 days without the need to apply for a visa from a Philippine consulate in China.

Instead, VUA recipients filed their applications with the BI through tour operators accredited by the Department of Tourism.

However, BI suspended the processing of VUA applications since late January at the height of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Last month, the BI chief ordered the blacklisting of 21 Chinese VUA recipients, who were also directed to leave for overstaying.

The VUA’s implementing guidelines, formulated by the Department of Justice, expressly prohibits visa grantees the privilege to apply for extension of their stay. Thus, they have to leave the country before the lapse of their 30-day visa.

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