Government offers monetary rewards for turning in visa violators

9 Dec 14

PHILIPPINES

IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? As part of an ongoing effort to track foreign nationals and deport immigration violators, the government is offering monetary rewards for those who successfully report foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas.

What does the change mean? The Bureau of Immigration has put in place a system for individuals to anonymously report overstaying foreigners by sending a text message to confidential phone lines. If information leads to the deportation of the suspected overstay, the BI will pay the informant a reward.

  • Implementation timeframe: Thereward program took effect Oct. 27.
  • Visas/permits affected: 9(a)temporary visitor visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals overstaying their visas.
  • Business impact: The program will not significantly impact business, but is a compliance reminder that the Philippines is increasing its efforts to monitor foreign nationals and crack down on overstays.
  • Next steps: Employers and foreign visitors should make sure they are compliant with visa terms and validity periods.

Background: The BI explained its “Reward and Incentive Program” in Memorandum Circular No. SBM-2014-017. The purpose is to reduce the number of foreign visitors overstaying their visas by providing monetary incentives to informants who report them to authorities. The BI National Operations Center has set up three mobile phone lines to receive text messages from informants. The BI is obligated to investigate the immigration status of foreigners accused of overstaying their visas and report them to the Bureau’s legal department, which will file deportation orders if warranted. If a foreigner is deported based on information from an informant, the informant is entitled to 2,000 Philippine pesos (around US$45).

BAL Analysis: The program is another sign that the Philippines is treating visa overstays seriously. Companies who have employees working in the Philippines on Special Work Permits, in particular, should be sure that they maintain a valid 9(a) visa throughout the course of the assignment. 

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the Philippines. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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