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DOJ wants stricter visa processing for Chinese citizens

CITING national security concerns, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla yesterday called for stricter visa processing for Chinese citizens who want to enter the country, adding the issuance of visas should be taken away from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

In a press briefing, Remulla said there is a need to tighten the visa issuance process to make sure that only legitimate individuals are allowed entry to the country.

“A bigger problem will ensue since there are national security issues involved for foreigners who want to enter the country, especially with China where we are currently embroiled in a number of issues, so, we really need to be careful and ensure that the processes in issuing visas are strictly followed,” he said.

He said the DOJ has received many reports that there are Chinese citizens who have no legitimate reason to be issued a visa yet managed to get one, sometimes through illegal means.

Remulla said this is one of the issues that he wants to be investigated, adding this includes the use of a travel agency to secure a visa.

“I am having this investigated because based on the information I received there are lawyers and travel agencies who are being used as a conduit for the entry of these individuals and most of those benefitting from these illegal activities are those coming from China,” he said.

Remulla said the DOJ will recommend to President Marcos Jr. to remove the visa processing and issuance from the DFA.

Instead of the DFA, he said such tasks should be handled by the VFS Global, similar to what other countries have been doing.

“We are currently reviewing the visa issuing system and we will recommend to the President that the DFA should no longer handle the visa processing but rather the VFS since the latter has the capability to check the veracity of the data submitted by those applying for a visa,” he said.

In May 2021, the DFA inked an agreement with VFS Global on the Outsourcing of the Non-Sensitive, Non-Discretionary and Non-Complex Elements of Passport Renewal covering areas under the jurisdiction of Philippine Foreign Service Posts in the United Arab Emirates and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The DFA said similar