In an effort to combat human trafficking and illegal recruitment, the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) recently unveiled revised departure guidelines for Filipinos traveling abroad, set to take effect on September 3rd, 2023. These updated rules have sparked concern among Filipinos, who fear they might infringe upon their right to travel. However, officials insist that these new protocols aim to protect vulnerable individuals while minimizing disruption for regular travelers.
Why the Revised Guidelines?
The Department of Justice spokesperson, Mico Clavano, stressed the importance of having clear and easily understandable departure protocols to deter potential traffickers. With the Philippines’ rich history of migration and the vulnerability of its citizens, these guidelines aim to strike a balance between freedom to travel and safeguarding against exploitation. Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco reassured travelers that the guidelines have been in place since 2012 and have undergone refinement based on public feedback. For most tourists, these revisions should not cause any concerns.
Basic Travel Requirements
For over 95% of travelers, the revised guidelines mandate only the following basic documents:
• Passport valid for at least six months from departure
• Boarding pass
• Appropriate visa (when required)
• Confirmed return or roundtrip ticket (when necessary)
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla emphasized that additional requirements would primarily apply to first-time travellers, especially those who may pose as tourists but intend to find employment abroad.
Proof of Financial Capacity
The need to demonstrate financial capacity or employment varies. According to Undersecretary Nicholas Felix Ty, immigration officers usually do not request these proofs. In cases where a visa is required, such as for Europe, the embassy often establishes financial capacity. Ty further explained that seasoned travelers with a clean record are likely to pass through immigration smoothly without additional documents. However, for first-time travellers, providing documents like proof of financial capacity or a certificate of employment is advisable.
Supporting Documents for Different Travelers
In addition to the basic travel documents, immigration officers may request supporting documents based on various categories of travellers:
- Self-funded travellers may need to show proof of accommodation, financial capacity, source of income, and proof of employment.
- Those whose trips are sponsored by a relative within the first civil degree may require birth or marriage certificates, copies of the sponsor’s passport, and valid work visas or residence permits.
- Travelers sponsored by individuals beyond the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity may need a notarized affidavit of support and guarantee.
- For OFWs departing for the first time, presenting an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC), valid employment visa, work permit, and employment contract is essential.
For more information on supporting documents for other categories, you may access the revised departure formalities here.
The revised guidelines set a standard for inspection duration. Primary inspections should not exceed 45 seconds, while secondary inspections should take no longer than 15 minutes unless extraordinary circumstances require a lengthier assessment.
NB Migration Law: Your Trusted Partner in Australian Migration
If you have any questions about migration to Australia or need assistance with migration-related inquiries, NB Migration Law is here to help. These revised departure rules aim to strike a balance between protecting citizens and ensuring a smooth travel experience for all.