Bureau of Immigration warns of new scam targeting former OFWs
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Monday that it recently discovered a human trafficking scheme targeting former Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who wish to work abroad again.
According to BI, the newly-discovered scam baits former OFWs whose visas and contracts have expired by giving them new tourist visas to allow them to depart and work illegally as tourists while using their old overseas employment certificate (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,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.
According to Morente, the victims will only end up working for a different employer “or worse, fly off to a third country like Iraq or Syria.”
The bureau said the scheme was discovered when members of the BI Travel Control and Enforcement Unit (TCEU) intercepted an individual who tried to depart from Clark International Airport to Dubai.
The said victim presented a Dubai work visa and an OEC as a Balik Manggagawa but was referred to the BI TCEU for further inspection after immigration officers noticed inconsistencies in his documents.
Upon verification, it was found that his work visa has already been canceled, leaving him with only an active tourist visa.
BI said the victim was turned over to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Labor Assistance Center in Pampanga for assistance.
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