The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday ordered strict screening for Filipinos departing for Japan to curb human trafficking.
In a memorandum, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente instructed BI inspectors in ports of exit to exercise “extra caution” in clearing the departure of Filipinos with visas for intra-company transferee, short-term visitor, student, and engineer specialist in humanities and international services.
Morente said they received reports that some visas were being used by unscrupulous recruiters to circumvent government rules on the documentation and deployment of Filipino workers to Japan.
The BI chief said the scheme was being used to make it appear that the purpose of the Filipino passenger is to be exempt from securing an overseas employment certificate.
He explained that using the said visas, the travelers are declaring that they are staying briefly in Japan “although their actual intention is to work in the said country.”
“This emerging trend exposes these travelers to the dangers of trafficking in persons and illegal recruitment which the BI is mandated to prevent,” he added.
BI port operations chief Carlos Capulong, on the other hand, said that he already directed all immigration inspectors assigned at different ports to be more strict in screening Japan-bound travelers.
“We have instructed them that if the declared purpose of travel of a passenger is doubtful, the latter should be referred to for secondary inspection to our travel control and enforcement unit,” Capulong said. — Richa Noriega/RSJ, GMA News