MEMBERS of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) at the Clark International Airport prevented the departure of an illegal recruitment victim bound for Dubai recently.
The victim, whose name was not divulged because of human trafficking and illegal recruitment laws, attempted to depart via an Emirates Airlines flight by presenting an overseas employment certificate (OEC) as a Balik Manggagawa.
However, Immigration Officer Vanessa Icban noticed inconsistencies in his documents and referred the matter to members of BI’s TCEU for further inspection.
Upon checking, TCEU officer Tomas David and Vincent Serrano found out that the victim arrived in the country in 2019 and possessed a Dubai work visa.
Upon verification, it was found that his work visa has already been cancelled and he has an active tourist visa.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente commended the efforts of the Clark immigration officers.
“I know it is a challenge to intercept such cases as they are presenting complete documents and are in the guise of being legitimate OFWs,” said Morente. “We commend the quick eye of our immigration officers, which allowed them to uncover this modus.”
In the said scheme, former overseas Filipino workers whose visas and contracts have expired are given new tourist visas to allow them to depart to work illegally as tourists using their old OEC records.
“This is an obvious circumvention of the law, and victims are promised that they can depart using their old OECs that are, in fact, invalid already,” said Morente. “Victims end up working for a different employer, or worse, fly off to a third country like Iraq or Syria.”
The victim was turned over to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Labor Assistance Center Pampanga for assistance.