DFA reminds overseas Pinoys: Don't overstay, follow immigration rules

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2019 12:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 23 2019 01:42 PM

MANILA - The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday reminded overseas Filipinos to follow immigration rules after the United States banned Filipino workers from applying for some temporary work visas.

The DFA said Filipinos abroad must "follow immigration rules and avoid staying beyond what is allowed in their visas."

"The Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. along with the other Philippine Consulates General in the US, will continue to extend appropriate assistance to all its nationals pursuant to law," the agency said.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earlier announced that the Philippines, Ethiopia and Dominican Republic are no longer qualified for H-2A and H-2B visas, work permits given to agricultural and non-agricultural laborers who intend to work in the United States temporarily, due to threats of severe overstaying and human trafficking.

The DFA said it acknowledges the United States' prerogative to cancel the eligibility of Filipinos to apply for some temporary work permits.

"As visa issuances are a country’s prerogative, the DFA notes the concerns that led the DHS to arrive at its decision," the agency said in a statement.

"Nonetheless, the Philippines is open to the possibility of working with the United States in addressing these issues, as it has previously done so with similar concerns involving the Filipino Community there," it said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said the Palace respects the US decision, but may appeal it should its enforcement be marred with unjust practices.

"If that is the law in the US, and there are violations, then we will need to respect. We will only react if our workers are being mistreated, maltreated," Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

"We need to know whether there is basis for the decision. If there is none, we can ask for reconsideration," he said.