THE Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to issue a circular imposing stricter rules on the issuance of visa-upon-arrival (VUA) to Chinese nationals.
Undersecretary Mark Perete, the department’s spokesman, said the circular—aimed at curbing the deluge of Chinese nationals illegally working and overstaying in the country—will be issued in the next few days.
The circular would require Chinese tourists to present their round-trip tickets showing the length of their stay and the date of their departure from the Philippines before they are issued a VUA.
Likewise, tourists have to reveal their itinerary while they are in the country and show proof that they have booked accommodations, such as presenting hotel’s billing receipts.
This would cover Chinese visitors, businessmen who would be staying for short durations in the Philippines, athletes and delegates to international conferences.
Once published, the VUA amendments would take effect immediately and not 15 days after publication, Perete said.
“Aside from the round-trip ticket, if they are coming in as tourists they must have booked accommodations for every stop in their itinerary. The tour operator must be, of course, accredited. The tour operator must provide all the details where they will be staying, proof of accommodations,” he added.
The DOJ official also said Chinese nationals who are VUA holders are not allowed to convert the of their visa.
“We want to make sure that the Visa Upon Arrival facility would not be abused…. We just put in more restrictions specifically because of complaints that many are using that facility to obtain employment in the Philippines,” he explained.
The Philippine government came up with stricter VUA rules due to the deluge of Chinese nationals in the country, mostly working in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) establishments, and many without working permits.
“Some have used that facility to obtain employment, later on whether it is Pogo or any other kind of employment,” Perete said. There had been complaints that “some would get a Visa Upon Arrival and then convert it into another visa and then get more permits to be employed in Pogo, or any other businesses.”
The DOJ is looking to include other nationals to be covered by the stricter VUA rules.