The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminded departing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to present complete travel and work documents before leaving the country.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the reminder after learning that five OFWs were recently barred from departing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for not having the required employment visas.
Morente said existing rules require that departing OFWs must secure the necessary employment visa issued by the country where they are destined to work.
The BI chief added that possession of a valid overseas employment certificate (OEC) from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) will not suffice to allow an OFW to leave if the latter does not have a working visa.
Morente stressed that OFWs travelling on tourist visas are not permitted to leave under the revised guidelines on departure formalities for international passengers set by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).
Earlier, the BI’s travel control and enforcement unit (TCEU) reported that the five male passengers were intercepted at the NAIA 3 terminal last Nov. 21 before they could board their Emirates flight to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The passengers were subjected to secondary inspection after BI officers noticed that they were all traveling on UAE tourist visas but were also in possession of valid OECs.
When interviewed, they said their recruiters told them that their papers would be converted to working visas upon their arrival in UAE, provided they tested negative COVID-19 at the Dubai airport.
They also revealed that they were recruited to work as painters and pipe installers in the emirate.
They were later advised to secure the appropriate employment visa before departure.