The Bureau of Immigration will conduct an investigation on the entry of seven Chinese citizens despite COVID-19 restrictions being implemented by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
According to the bureau, the seven foreigners who arrived on board China Southern Airlines flight CZ 3091 from mainland China were held at the NAIA 1 after they were found to be holding tourist visas.
Foreigners are still not allowed to travel to or enter the Philippines due the pandemic unless they are holders of residents visas or are diplomats or married to Filipino citizens.
The foreigners were found to be workers of an online gaming firm in the country hired by the Huayi Group Inc.
The Chinese nationals reportedly shelled out money for an exclusion order that enabled them to enter the country.
Meanwhile, the BI said foreigners with valid visas and whose reentry permits have expired may now re-enter the Philippines upon payment of the required fees at the airport.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the new rules apply to foreigners who have been issued immigrant and non-immigrant visas and who are returning to the Philippines after being stranded abroad due to the pandemic.
Morente said the new rules were adopted on orders of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra who instructed the bureau to allow the reentry of aliens with expired reentry permits (RPs) and special return certificates (SRCs) instead of sending them back to their port of origin.
An RP is issued to a holder of an immigrant visa who is a permanent resident here, while the SRC is obtained by a non-immigrant such as holders of 9(g) working visa and 9(f) student visa.
Said aliens cannot leave the country unless they have secured their RP or SRC as well as their emigration clearance certificate (ECC).
“Many of these foreign nationals have already expired RPs and SRCs, and the new procedure will allow them to renew this at the airport upon arrival,” said Morente.