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Visa rules for Chinese nationals

Manila Standard

There will be no stricter visa rules and regulations for Chinese nationals wanting to enter the country, only stricter scrutiny of visa requirements.

That’s the statement of President Marcos Jr. following the recent announcement of the Department of Foreign Affairs it would tighten the visa requirements for Chinese tourists amid a high number of fraudulent applications received in its embassy and consulates in China.

“There are no stricter rules for anyone. The rules are the same for all our friends who come,” he said.

The government, however, will intensify efforts to scrutinize visa applications and documents submitted amid reports of abuses

It is entirely correct for the President to say government will run after individuals engaged in illegal activities, regardless of nationality. “Anyone who does that, we’ll catch them (sic),” he said.

The DFA announcement on tightened rules for the issuance of tourist visas to Chinese nationals had been slammed as discriminatory and even a racist move that runs contrary to our policy to attract more tourists and boost our economy.

But we cannot fault the DFA for moving to stem the tide of clear circumvention by some Chinese nationals of our immigration laws over the years.

The agency has clearly had enough of Chinese nationals entering the country on tourist visas but later getting involved in crimes, including human trafficking, forcible abduction, robbery, extortion and homicide.

Prior to the President’s clarification, the DFA had actually started implementing this month new tourist visa requirements.

These include requiring tourist visa applicants to present social security documents on top of government-issued IDs, bank statements and employment certificates.

According to the DFA, the main problem encountered by Philippine consular officers in China is the submission of “blatantly fake” or fraudulently acquired documents by visa applicants.

Suspicious applicants are usually found out due to inconsistencies during their interview, where they are revealed to be lacking the financial capacity to stay in the country as genuine tourists.

And there have also been instances of attempted bribery of the Philippine consular staff.

So how many are the overstaying Chinese tourists in the Philippines?

The DFA has conceded the number could be in the “thousands or more,” but deferred to the National Security Council as to the actual figures.

From now on, the DFA policy on visitor visas for Chinese nationals will have to strike a balance between the country’s need to boost business and tourism, on the one hand, and national security, on the other.

This is how it should be, given heightened tensions between our two countries on the West Philippine Sea.

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