Filipino illegals in SoKor warned

The Department of Labor and Employment has issued an advisory urging all Filipinos who are illegally staying in South Korea to make use of the Korean government's six-month voluntary departure program to avoid the penalty of being banned from entering or visiting that country.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the South Korean government has implemented the voluntary departure for illegal migrants program, which started April 1 and will end on Sept. 30 this year.

"All illegal migrants willing to leave the country must have viable passports and airline tickets and report to immigration offices on the day of their departure," Baldoz said.

As of January 2016, there are 54,437 Filipinos residing in Korea and 12,364 of them are illegally staying or working in the country, DoLE said.

"We are enjoining undocumented Filipinos in South Korea to avail of this program, thus avoid being entangled with South Korea's immigration laws," said Baldoz.

"The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in South Korean is willing to cooperate to South Korea government by widely disseminating the voluntary return program through its official website and Facebook and by distributing the leaflets of the program at the Consular Section," Baldoz said.

Majority of the illegal migrants come from China, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mongolia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, East Timor, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

Baldoz said South Korea will suspend the reentry ban for those who will submit themselves to the program and will have the privilege from being exempted from the five-year reentry ban imposed on over stayers, and from the penalty for illegal migrants and their employers.

Aside from the exemptions, those who will opt for voluntary departure can leave the country freely without detention and can go back to Korea after receiving the reentry visa from the diplomatic mission abroad.

"This is an opportunity for labor sending countries to enjoin their nationalities who are illegally staying or working in South Korea to voluntarily return to their home countries by submitting themselves to the scheme, thus prevent the possibility of being deported and banned," said Baldoz.

Among the sanctions that an illegal migrant will face once caught by the authorities include a re-entry ban for up to five years regardless of the period of overstaying, and imposition of an enhanced criminal penalty and increased fines.

All Filipinos illegally staying and willing to leave the country must secure a flight ticket, valid passport and other pertinent travel documents, and to report to immigration offices at all ports of entry on the day of their departure.

Source; The Standard