Officials of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) warned foreigners against fixers offering assistance on student visa processing.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said that the announcement followed after receiving reports of four cases of visa tampering in June.
According to Morente, one case involved an Indian national who initially went to the BI’s Student Visa Section (SVS) in Quezon City to claim his Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ACR i-Card).
BI SVS Chief Anthony Cabrera reported that after assessment, officers found that the foreigner has no application on record, discovered that his visa has been long expired, and that his passport has been marked with counterfeit visa extension stamps.
Said student explained that a certain “Rudyard”, whom he met online, allegedly processed his and his two cousins’ application, duping them on the pretext of providing legitimately acquired visas.
A complaint was later filed by one of the students against the fixer, which led to his arrest after an entrapment operation.
BI raises alarm on modus of fixers providing fake visa stamps to foreign students
A second case involved another Indian student, who allegedly asked a friend to process his student visa extension.
Upon return of his passport, it was found to have been marked with a fake stamp.
Morente then expressed his dismay towards the incidents, and warned the public to only transact with authorized immigration personnel. “It is unbelievable that scam cases continue to rise even during the pandemic,” Morente said.
“Only their school’s authorized representative may transact in behalf of foreign students,” said Morente. “They should refrain from engaging the services of these so-called fixers, many of which they just met online, as these would only bring problems to them,” he warned.
Meanwhile, BI clarified that fully vaccinated passengers must present documentary proof upon arrival in the country.
In an advisory, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente stated that those fully vaccinated in the Philippines must carry their vaccination card, which should be verified prior to their departure from the Philippines through the Certificate of Vaccination Record Portal of the Department of Information and Communications Technology or the City Health Officer of the local government unit which administered the full vaccination.