immigration - updates

Rappler's latest stories on immigration


OFWs in UAE scramble to update visas following new policies

Jul 13, 2020 - 8:29 AM

'Walang tigil ang mga telepono, landline, at mobile. Daig pa namin ang call center (The phones, whether landline or mobile, just won't quit. We're busier than a call center),' says Larry Esguerra, office manager at MPQ Tourism

'Trapped' illegal workers in Saudi look to virus for escape

Jul 09, 2020 - 11:02 AM

The problem is rooted in the 'kafala' sponsorship system, described by critics as a modern form of slavery that binds workers to their Saudi employers

MONARCHS. A foreign labourer walks past a banner with portraits of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulazziz (C), his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and the founder of the Kingdom King Abdulazziz al-Saudm on October 18, 2018 in Riyadh. Photo by Fayez Nureldine/AFP

Foreign students fear deportation over Trump visa threat

Jul 09, 2020 - 10:11 AM

'The rule is really, really cruel,' says one student from India

CAMBRIDGE, MA - AUGUST 30: Pedestrians walk into the Harvard Yard at Harvard University on August 30, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The U.S. Justice Department sided with Asian-Americans suing Harvard over admissions policy. Scott Eisen/Getty Images/AFP

Ex-Wirecard COO was not in PH in June; immigration data faked

Jul 04, 2020 - 6:33 PM

(UPDATED) The immigration officers who encoded Jan Marsalek's supposed flight records have been fired

WIRECARD. Picture taken on September 18, 2018 shows the company logo at the headquarters of the technology and financial services company Wirecard in Aschheim near Munich, southern Germany. Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP

U.S. must free migrant children from detention, court says

Jun 27, 2020 - 4:37 PM

Two of the country's 3 family detention centers have confirmed cases of the infection, district judge Dolly Gee says in her ruling on June 26

PROTESTING FOR MIGRANT CHILDREN. Protesters march against the separation of migrant children from their families on June 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. File photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP

BI records show ex-Wirecard COO in PH on June 23 but no CCTV footage of arrival

Jun 26, 2020 - 6:16 PM

(UPDATED) Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says Philippine authorities have yet to determine if this was due to a technical glitch or if the records were deliberately tampered to set investigators on the wrong course

SCANDAL. German payments provider Wirecard is embroiled in what is called the largest fraud case in recent history.

Trump to extend U.S. work visa freeze to year-end – White House

Jun 23, 2020 - 10:24 AM

(UPDATED) The new freeze order includes H-1B visas provided to 85,000 workers each year with special skills

SUSPENSION. The H-1B visa, used by tech firms to recruit foreign workers is suspended for 6 months.

Javier Parra 'perpetually banned' from the Philippines

Jun 16, 2020 - 11:56 AM

The Bureau of Immigration says Javier Salvador Parra left the Philippines for Spain on April 29, 3 days after his heated encounter with Makati police

BANNED. Javier Salvador Parra confronts policeman Senior Master Sergeant Roland Madrona before he is arrested on Sunday, April 26. Rappler screenshot

No charges yet: PH settles for immigration alert on Chinese clinic operators

May 28, 2020 - 6:44 PM

Unless charged in court with a hold departure order, the Chinese nationals cannot be barred from leaving the country

UNDERGROUND CLINIC. Philippine Coast Guard personnel test Chinese nationals for COVID-19 inside the Fontana Leisure Parks in Clark Freeport Zone where an underground clinic was discovered. Contributed photo

PH gov't moves to deport Javier Parra

May 22, 2020 - 5:01 PM

The Bureau of Immigration says it has filed charges against Javier Salvador Parra for 'undesirability and for 'overstaying'

ENCOUNTER. Javier Salvador Parra confronts policeman Senior Master Sergeant Roland Madrona before he is arrested on Sunday, April 26. Rappler screenshot

[OPINION] OFWs and immigrants as milking cows

May 11, 2020 - 2:37 PM

'The disabled Philippine economy largely depends upon OFW and immigrant remittances.... Thus, there’s no reason to treat these 'modern-day heroes' with insensitivity and overtaxation.

Overstaying? Immigration bureau probes status of Javier Parra in PH

Apr 28, 2020 - 2:10 PM

The Bureau of Immigration is probing the status of Spanish citizen Javier Salvador Parra, who had an altercation with a cop over quarantine rules in his Makati village

ENCOUNTER. Javier Salvador Parra confronts policeman Senior Master Sergeant Roland Madrona before he is arrested on Sunday, April 26. Rappler screenshot

Trump curbs immigration, saying hopes to protect devastated U.S. job market

Apr 23, 2020 - 10:07 AM

'This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens,' Trump says

Image from Shutterstock

Immigration bureau to decongest detention center after QC jail virus outbreak

Apr 22, 2020 - 1:52 PM

So far, the Bureau of Immigration has released 3 pregnant women. Two are out on bail, while the last one has been deported.

BORDER CONTROL. Bureau of Immigration personnel are the country's frontlines in securing its borders. File photo by Jae Maryanol/Rappler

Immigration lawyers sue U.S. government over coronavirus risks

Mar 31, 2020 - 3:03 PM

The American Immigration Lawyers Association says the government has refused to guarantee the safety of their members as well as due process for immigrants

Immigration bureau appeals for masks, gloves for staff

Mar 23, 2020 - 12:35 AM

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente says they are finding it hard to get masks and other personal protective equipment for their frontline personnel

Gov't changes mind again: OFWs, balikbayans, foreigners can fly during lockdown

Mar 17, 2020 - 5:20 PM

(UPDATED) As of late Tuesday evening, March 17, the government is allowing OFWs, balikbayans, and foreigners to take international flights out of Luzon for the entire lockdown period

CORONAVIRUS. Passengers crowd the NAIA Terminal 3 in Pasay City on March 13, 2020, following President Duterte's announcement of a community quarantine on March 15 to prevent to prevent the spread of covid-19. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

FALSE: DOH, immigration 'bulletin vs Chinese man who fled virus quarantine'

Mar 10, 2020 - 8:50 PM

The Bureau of Immigration says the story of a foreigner's escape from NAIA's quarantine area is a hoax

Duterte to sack fraternity brothers, allies at BI

Mar 04, 2020 - 12:01 PM

'It grieves me to do it,' says President Rodrigo Duterte of his decision to fire people he had known for decades, due to the Bureau of Immigration bribery scandal

PHILIPPINE CHIEF. President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the oath-taking ceremony of the newly-appointed government officials in Malacañang on March 3, 2020. Photo by Albert Alcain/Presidential Photo

POGOs linked to crimes: Forged PH passports, money-laundering, sex trafficking

Mar 04, 2020 - 8:00 AM

(UPDATE) Here's a rundown of issues hounding the opaque Philippine offshore gaming operations industry

POGO. A screen shows how online gambling is done. Photo by Rappler

With a monthly salary of P12,000, BI security guard's net worth is P7.8 million

Mar 02, 2020 - 5:32 PM

'Hindi na po ito bago, classic corrupt moves ito,' says Senator Risa Hontiveros

MILLIONS WORTH. Fidel Mendoza, allegedly with an item of Security Guard but serves as staff assistant to former immigration officer Marc red Marinas, at the continuation of the hearing on the payout system called 'Pastillas' scheme involving Bureau of Immigration officers at the NAIA terminals on March 2, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Immigration officials 'deny to death' participation in pastillas scheme

Mar 02, 2020 - 4:24 PM

Immigration officer Ralph Garcia denies he was the person behind the 'RG Garcia Ralph' codename – supposedly the administrator of a Viber group for the moneymaking scheme

NOT INVOLVED? Immigration officials allegedly involved in the 'Pastillas' scheme at the continuation of the hearing modus involving Bureau of Immigration officers at the NAIA terminals on March 2, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

DOJ to evaluate BI whistleblower for witness protection program

Feb 21, 2020 - 1:59 PM

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra says Immigration Officer Allison Chiong, the whistleblower in the POGO bribery mess, is now under provisional coverage of the program

JUSTICE CHIEF. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra attends a budget hearing in Congress on September 5, 2019. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

Duterte says he 'loves' immigration chief Morente amid POGO bribery mess

Feb 20, 2020 - 11:54 PM

Does the President exempt Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, a former Davao police chief, from accountability for the bribery scheme that let illegal Chinese workers slip into the country?

IMMIGRATION CHIEF. Bureau Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente in July 2016. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

‘Pastillas’ scheme top gun appointed by former justice secretary Aguirre – Morente

Feb 20, 2020 - 8:37 PM

Former BI deputy commissioner Marc Red Mariñas, installed by former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, appointed 3 officials that facilitated bribes from Chinese POGO workers

The officers from the Bureau of Immigration at the resumption of the inquiry into the alleged payout system called “Pastillas” to the immigration officers at the NAIA Terminal 1. February 20, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Majority of immigration officers part of 'pastillas scheme' – BI whistleblower

Feb 20, 2020 - 7:56 PM

Whistleblower Allison Chiong says immigration officers in NAIA Terminal 1 receive as much as P20,000 a week in the bribery scheme

WHISTLEBLOWER. Immigration Officer 1 Allison Chiong tells all at the Senate hearing on POGO operations. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Duterte sacks immigration officials, employees over POGO bribery scheme

Feb 20, 2020 - 3:25 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte found 'probable cause' to investigate allegations that immigration officers have taken bribes to let illegal Chinese workers slip into the country, says his spokesman

DUTERTE. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte witnesses the program proper during the Philippine Air Force Change of Command ecremony at the Col. Jesus Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on January 16, 2020. Malacanang photo

Critics slam U.K. post-Brexit immigration plans

Feb 20, 2020 - 9:48 AM

The new measures will make it easier for more qualified, English-speaking workers to get visas, and harder for low-skilled migrants to do so

BREXIT DISCORD. A pedestrian shelters from the rain beneath a Union flag themed umbrella as they walk near Big Ben. Photo by Justin Tallis/AFP

Britain unveils points-based immigration plan

Feb 19, 2020 - 8:20 AM

Each foreign worker must earn 70 points to be eligible, with a set number of points for each qualification or skill

LOVE. A migrant walks next to a tent tagged with the initials of the United Kingdom, UK, into a heart-shape logo inside the 'Jungle' camp for migrants and refugees in Calais on June 24, 2016. Photo by Philippe Huguen/AFP

BI sacks heads of NAIA terminals as it probes bribery claims

Feb 18, 2020 - 1:12 PM

Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval says the officials 'were removed from their posts due to command responsibility' while the BI investigates the alleged 'pastillas' scheme for arriving POGO workers

NAIA. The facade of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

‘Magkano at hanggang kanino?’: Hontiveros reveals bribery in entry of POGO workers

Feb 17, 2020 - 3:07 PM

(UPDATED) The senator confronts immigration officials at a hearing after an informant alleges that the entry of POGO employees is facilitated for P10,000 per person

Senator Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of Senate Committee on Women, Children Family Relations and Gender Equality, presides the senate inquiry on the sexual trafficking connected to POGO operations in the country. February 17, 2020. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Pentagon shifts $3.8 billion to Mexico border wall construction

Feb 14, 2020 - 10:35 AM

The move takes to $9.9 billion the total the Pentagon has been forced by President Donald Trump to reallocate to the barrier, after Congress repeatedly blocked funding

THE WALL. In this file photo taken on March 13, 2018 US President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes with Chief Patrol Agent Rodney S. Scott in San Diego, California. Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP

[ANALYSIS] Beyond Hallyu: Acknowledging the Koreans in our midst

Feb 08, 2020 - 11:00 AM

Filipinos love Korean pop culture, but they don't necessarily feel the same way about regular Koreans living in the Philippines

300 Chinese stranded in PH due to coronavirus travel restrictions

Feb 03, 2020 - 12:34 PM

Bureau of Immigration Spokesperson Dana Sandoval says the Chinese embassy has pledged to send an aircraft to fetch Chinese stranded in the country

CORONAVIRUS WATCH. Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) Terminal implements strict precautionary measures against novel coronavirus as they monitor arriving passengers from China using thermal scanners. Photo by Gelo Litonjua/Rappler

2 ships from China arrive in Manila, get coronavirus clearance

Jan 28, 2020 - 3:15 PM

(UPDATED) The Bureau of Quarantine concludes the ships' passengers and crew are free of the novel coronavirus, shortly after the vessels docked at the Port of Manila

CRUISE SHIP. The World Dream Cruise Ship arrived in Manila from Hong Kong on January 28, 2020. The Bureau of Quarantine declared its passengers free of the novel coronavirus. Photo from the Philippine Coast Guard

PH suspends visa on arrival for Chinese visitors due to coronavirus scare

Jan 28, 2020 - 12:44 PM

There is no policy to bar Chinese visitors in general, so those who have other valid visas can still enter the Philippines, says Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente

CORONAVIRUS SCARE. The Bureau of Quarantine monitors the thermal scanner of passengers arriving from international flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City on January 23, 2020 amid the reports of new strain of Coronavirus from China and spreading to other countries. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

U.S. to limit visas for pregnant women to curb 'birth tourism'

Jan 24, 2020 - 10:17 AM

The White House says foreigners are using the visas 'to secure automatic and permanent American citizenship for their children by giving birth on American soil'

DOCTOR'S ADVICE. Sleeping on the side is better for the baby. Image from Shutterstock, CC BY-SA

PH tracks down, now monitoring family of HK's suspected coronavirus patient

Jan 23, 2020 - 2:12 PM

An Advanced Passenger Information System has been set up and is set to be operational by the end of the month

N-COV. The government monitors passengers arriving at the Manila airport due to the novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Chinese men sought immigration referral from Filipina they tried to abduct

Jan 23, 2020 - 8:01 AM

The Filipina says the men who tried to take her claimed that she owed them around P300,000


Japan court sentences 2 Filipinas via remote interpreting for the first time

Jan 22, 2020 - 2:48 PM

A Tagalog-Japanese interpreter shown on a large monitor via video link tells the two women the separate rulings of prison terms handed down by the Yamagata District Court

Photo by Kyodo News

Texas will not accept refugees anymore – governor

Jan 11, 2020 - 8:41 AM

Governor Greg Abbott tells the State Department that Texas has to dedicate its resources 'to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants and the homeless – indeed, all Texans'

NOT ACCEPTING REFUGEES. US Border Patrol vehicles are pictured near the Paso Del Norte International Bridge at the US-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, on September 12, 2019. Photo by Paul Ratje/AFP

PH soon to have single online portal for prisoner, criminal data

Jan 10, 2020 - 6:21 PM

But agencies are yet to digitize their data that will be uploaded to the newly-launched National Justice Information System (NJIS)

PRISONERS. Convicted prisoners at the Maximum Security Compound of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa on October 29, 2019. Photos by Lisa Marie David/Rappler

French citizen dead in U.S. custody – immigration agency

Jan 02, 2020 - 1:26 PM

A statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) identifies the person only as 'a 40-year-old native of Angola and citizen of France'

DEATHS IN IMMIGRATION. Recently-installed "Bollard" style fencing is pictured on the US-Mexico border near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, on April 30, 2019. File Photo by Paul Ratje/AFP

The indignity of the U.S. travel bans is not about our politicians

Dec 24, 2019 - 1:05 PM

It's true, it is within the United States' sovereign power to block entry to anyone it wishes. But my migration framework prevents me from unequivocally saying that.

342 Chinese POGO workers without visas set to be deported

Dec 20, 2019 - 7:46 PM

POGOs are the country's fastest-growing industry. They have caused friction because of allegations of widespread tax evasion and the influx of tens of thousands of immigrant workers.

GAMING WORKERS. The Phil-Asian Gaming Expo at SMX Convention Center in Pasay on July 12-14, 2019. File photo by Rappler

Locsin: Stamp with PH EEZ to be used on all foreign passports

Nov 08, 2019 - 6:26 PM

'Full Extent of Our Sovereignity. Full stop,' says Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr

FRONTLINES. Bureau of Immigration personnel are the country's frontlines in securing its borders. Photo by Jae Maryanol/Rappler

Gordon to BI: Ensure that foreigners entering PH not involved in drugs

Nov 06, 2019 - 10:51 PM

'Almost all of shabu smuggled into this country come from China, under the control of Chinese nationals. This problem is so serious,' says Senator Richard Gordon

NINJA COPS REPORT. Senator Richard Gordon sponsors Committee Report 17 on the ninja cops issue before the Senate plenary. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

PH resumes stamping Chinese passports with disputed 9-dash line

Nov 06, 2019 - 11:10 AM

Immigration chief Jaime Morente says the policy update is a better security protocol because 'sheets of papers can easily be lost'

NEW RULE. The Bureau of Immigration will now stamp Chinese passports that bear the disputed nine-dash line claim over the West Philippine Sea, ending a 7-year practice by the Philippine government. File photo

New deportation rules in PH: Leave country pending appeal

Nov 01, 2019 - 3:06 PM

The new rules are set to take effect end of November

DEPORTATION RULES. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has jurisdiction over deportation cases. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Flights and fake passports: The 'VIP packages' enticing Vietnamese to UK

Oct 29, 2019 - 2:32 PM

Details of well-oiled smuggling routes spanning Vietnam to Europe are under renewed scrutiny after 39 people were found dead in a truck in Britain

Le Minh Tuan, father of 30-year old Le Van Ha, who is feared to be among the 39 people found dead in a truck in Britain, cries while holding Ha's son outside their house in Vietnam's Nghe An province on October 27, 2019. NHAC NGUYEN / AFP