The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has warned the public against illegal recruitment schemes using fake travel documents and misdeclaration of the purpose of overseas travel.
In Advisory No. 146, Series of 2020, POEA administrator Bernard Olalia also reminded Filipinos who aspire to work overseas they must have authentic travel documents such as passports, work visas among others.
“The public is also reminded that while outbound travel restrictions have been relaxed and non-essential travel is now allowed, all Filipinos intending to work overseas must be in possession of proper travel and overseas employment documents including work permits/visas, and overseas employment certificates (OECs) from the POEA,” he said.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Resolution No. 79 (series 2020) has lifted the restrictions on non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos effective October 21, 2020.
Olalia also cautioned would-be overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) not to engage in “tourist to work” ploys offered by unscrupulous individuals. “Traveling for overseas employment on a tourist visa is prohibited,” he stressed.
Under the tourist to work scheme, applicants are issued tourist visas with a promise of converting said visa into work permit/visas upon arrival in the destination countries.
“POEA warns the public about the prevalence of abuse among those who been promised overseas employment using the tourist to work scheme, with some being arrested in destination countries for working without the required visa for work permits,” he pointed out.
The agency reported that in August and September 2020, the Bureau of Immigration apprehended several individuals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for using forged travel documents, including visas and OECs.
“Others have been apprehended for assuming false identities and using fake passports. Upon investigation, the apprehended individuals claim to be traveling as OFWs. The public is warned that possession and use of falsified documents, and assuming aliases and fictitious identities are criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment and fine,” he added.