Bureau of Immigration to blacklist 459 aliens over fake firms

The Bureau of Immigration will blacklist 459 foreigners found to have used fake companies in their application for work visas, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco said yesterday
The blacklisting is part of the bureau’s campaign to eliminate illegal aliens in the country, specifically those resorting to fraud to obtain visas, he said.

Tansingco explained that three consecutive audit reports from the BI’s verification and compliance division uncovered a total of 459 aliens utilizing fake companies during their application process.

“These foreign nationals’ applications were processed using the services of accredited entities, authorized to apply in behalf of the foreign nationals,” Tansingco said.

The visas of the 459 foreigners will be revoked and those currently in the country would be told to leave immediately, Tansingco said.

He added that they will be added to a blacklist to prevent re-entry.

Tansingco noted that 79 accredited liaison officers  and four BI lawyers are under investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for their alleged involvement in the scheme.

Last week, the BI reported the scheme to the Department of Justice, which committed to assisting the investigation along with the NBI.

‘Sex offenders arriving daily’

Meanwhile, the BI expressed alarm over the number of registered sex offenders the bureau has caught attempting to enter the country, BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said yesterday.

In a press conference, Sandoval said that from January to November, the BI recorded at least 155 sex offenders attempting to enter the country.

“That’s quite a lot compared to the previous year when we caught one or two sex offenders every now and then, they rarely entered the country. But now it’s becoming a daily thing for us, which is causing concern for the BI,” Sandoval said in English and Filipino.

Sandoval attributed the rise to the aftermath of the pandemic, citing the surge in online exploitation of children and women during lockdowns.

With international travel reopening, Sandoval said the Philippines has witnessed a corresponding increase in the number of tourists, potentially including those involved in sex tourism.

“We see this as a worrying trend that could be an effect of the pandemic – the exploitation that occurred online is now manifesting in live, in-person attempts,” she said.

While the BI has successfully intercepted registered sex offenders, Sandoval expressed concern about unregistered individuals engaging in sex tourism activities.

Sandoval urged the public to collaborate with the BI by reporting any information on foreign nationals involved in sex tourism.