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BI sets new guidelines on student visa

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MANILA, Nov. 23 (PNA) -- The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has imposed new guidelines tightening its rules in the issuance of student visa and special study permit (SSP) to foreigners enrolled in various schools in the country following reports on the alleged presence of fake foreign student visas.

Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said Wednesday he issued the new memorandum last month after reports reaching his office that unscrupulous travel agents have been conniving with foreigners in submitting fake or fraudulent transcript/school records for the student visa and SSP applications.

David said student visa is issued to foreigners, at least 18 years old, who will be taking up a course higher than high school at a university, seminary college or school authorized to admit foreign students.

The SSPs are issued to foreign students below 18 years old who will study in the elementary, secondary, tertiary levels and those who will enroll in a special course in less than one year.

Under the new memorandum, David said, the school’s designated liaison officer or representative, who must be an employee of the school, shall exclusively represent or assist the foreign student in applying for a visa.

“We have to make sure that only foreigners actually studying in the Philippines are given these visas,” David stressed, adding, that fake foreign students are blatantly violating Philippine laws.

David instructed BI intelligence chief, Ma. Antonette Bucasas-Mangrobang and Anna Katrina Sy-Gil, BI student desk head, to conduct investigation that would lead to the identity of fake alien students so that their visas can be cancelled and face deportation proceedings.

The new rules also provide that only schools accredited by the BI, the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and Federation of Accrediting Agencies are authorized to accept foreign students.

It also requires schools to establish a foreign student unit and submit to the BI a periodic report on foreigners enrolled in their school.

Each school shall designate its representative who will transact with the BI and apply for the issuance or renewal of study visas or SSPs in favor of the foreign students.

The BI instructed their alien control officers in areas where the schools are situated to submit to the bureau’s main office a monthly report on study visas and permits processed by their respective offices.

By PNA




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