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SBM-2014-013 PRESCRIBING THE OPERATING RULES AND GUIDELINES IN DOWNGRADING OF SECTION 47(a)(2) VISA SUBJECT OF THE 22 JANUARY 2014 LETTER (LML-L-22A14-175) OF DOJ SECRETARY LEILA M. DE LIMA WHEREAS, the Composite Team constituted under Department of Justice (DOJ) Department Order No. 738 issued on 07 October 2013 concluded its investigation and submitted its report relative to the grant of special non-immigrant visas under Section 47(a)(2) of the Philippine Immigration act of 1940, as amended, to seventy (70) Chinese nationals using fraudulent documents from Sitel Philippines, Corporation, a PEZAregistered firm; WHEREAS, in its Report dated 20 December 2013, the Composite Team established, among others, that such visa scam or controversy occurred due to lack of strict compliance with existing laws, rules and regulations on the entry of foreign nationals who are granted visa on sponsorship[ by accredited tour operators, specifically on the reportorial requirement on monitoring and implementation under Memorandum of Agreement By and Among the Department of Tourism, Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration on the Accreditation of Philippine Tour Operators handling Tour Groups or Individuals from the Peoples republic of China dated 30 august 2001; WHEREAS, the said investigation also revealed that these subject Chinese nationals gained entry into the Philippines through the sponsorship of travel agencies accredited by DOT, namely: (1) El Sol Tours, Inc.: (2) Leap Fast 888 Travel & Tours, Inc.: (3) Mulan Travel Service Corp.: (4) Orient Pacific International Travel and Tours; and (5) Direction travel and Tours, Inc.; WHEREAS, on 11 February 2014, the BI received a letter (LML-L22A14-175) dated 22 January 2014 from DOJ Secretary Leila M. De Lima directing the implementation of reform measures to prevent the future recurrence of the above incident, among other;

WHEREAS, on 11 February 2014, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) received a letter (LML-L-22A14-175) dated 22 January 2014 from Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima directing implementation of the following: ON VISA DOWNGRADING 1. The BI should not allow the downgrading of 47(a)(2) visas foreign nationals whose periods of employment authorize by PEZA have expired. They should be ordered to leave as soon as possible. The conditions specified in LOI No. 63 dated 13 March 1973 are, as follows: a. That such aliens shall not remain in the Philippines beyond the period of employment authorized by the Export Processing Zone Authority (now PEZA); b. That while in the Philippines, they shall not seek any change in their admission status to any other non-immigrant status without first departing from the country; xxx. WHEREFORE, pursuant to his rule-making authority under Section 3 of Commonwealth Act No. 613 (Philippine Immigration Act of 1940), as amended, and consistent with the directives of the Secretary of Justice as contained in afore-cited latter, the Commissioner issues the following operational guidelines, as follows: 1. Foreign nationals with expired Section 47(a)(2) visa obtained through PEZA shall NOT be allowed to downgrade their visa and shall be ordered to leave as soon as possible or within fifteen (15) days from expiration of their PEZA-authorized period of employment whichever is shorter; Provided that, applications for downgrading filed prior to the expiration of such authorized period of employment shall be allowed by the BI with appropriate notice to the DOJ: and, Provided further that, they shall be order to leave within fifty nine (59) days from expiration of their PEZA authorized period of employment. 2. They shall not be allowed to change their status to any other nonimmigrant status without first departing from the country; Provided that those allowed by principle of reciprocity, may convert to immigrant visa category without need of departure under Presidential Decree No. 419.

3. Applications for downgrading of expired Section 47(a)(2) visas filed and pending with any BI Office upon the issuance of this Oder shall be DENIED forthwith and the foreign national shall be directed to leave the country within fifteen (15) days therefrom; Provided, that those who have overstayed shall be directed to pay the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (PhP10,000.00) as and by way of Immigration Arrears Release Certificate (AIRC) and; Provided further, that those who overstayed for more than six(6) months shall be placed in the BIs Blacklist. 4. Copies of Orders To Leave of Section 47(a)(2)/PEZA visa holders shall be furnished the Secretary of Justice. 5. The Alien Certificate of Registration Identification Card (ACR I-Card), if any, of a previous Section 47(a)(2)/PEZA visa holder shall be cancelled and/or deactivated. All previous issuances inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed and/or modified accordingly. This order shall take effect immediately. For strict compliance. 03 March 2013 Signed SIEGFRED B. MISON Commissioner