Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Disappearing Act

In a country like the Philippines from which many citizens are eager to emigrate or at least work abroad due to the difficult economic conditions here, it seems paradoxical that the Philippines would have a problem with a presence of illegal aliens. Yet according to the Bureau of Immigration, there are approximately one million  such immigrants residing here.

But unlike in the U.S. where the majority of illegals, mainly from Mexico and Central America, enter the country by sneaking across the border, most of the foreigners who don't belong in the Philippines usually enter  legally with tourists visas, but then overstay the expiration dates of these documents, and then never make an effort to correct the matter. This is the mirror image of their Filipino counterparts in the U. S  who become illegals in the U.S.the same way and are known there  by other Filipinos as TNT's, a Tagalog acronym for "tago ng tago", which loosely means "constantly hiding".

In an effort to root out immigrant over-stayers,  the Bureau of Immigration has launched an outreach campaign called the Alien Registration Program., which offers an opportunity for amnesty from deportation to those undocumented aliens who voluntarily come out of hiding and report to the immigration authorities.  However, contrary to the indication in the  ARP public notice, I didn't find a registration form on the BI website, but  if you would like more information  about this program, click here to see the official guidelines thereof. You can also get information by phoning the Bureau of  Immigration at (02) 465-2400 locals 444 and 447.

In short, if your only immigration problem here is an expired visa, the Alien Registration Program may be a way to resolve that issue. once and for all. Also consider the alternative: If the BI ever unexpectedly discovers your status  and accordingly takes legal action against you,  that can lead to a lot more complicated outcome.