BI wants to set up Virac field office
posted 24-Feb-2019  ·  
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The Bureau of Immigration has approached the municipal government of Virac and the provincial government regarding its plan to set up a field office in the capital town.

Last week, immigration officer Jerome Ollet, who is also training officer at the Center for Training & Research at the Philippine Immigration Academy, first visited the office of Virac Mayor Samuel Laynes on the possibility of the LGU’s allocating available office space for the proposed BI field office.

The chief executive immediately expressed his support for the proposal and instructed a subordinate to determine where the BI office could be set up.

According to Ollet, the local office could provide the following services: visa extensions, visa applications, visa conversions, special permits, dual citizenship, boarding formalities, alien registration, Emigration Clearance Certifice, and, ACR Icard processing.

In such an office to be headed by an Alien Control Officer, the other four or five employees would consist of a cashier, evaluator, immigration officer and others, including a job order worker to be hired locally at standard BI rates.

As the Catanduanes State University (CSU) has been granted accreditation by the bureau to accept foreign students since 2014, the BI field office could grant special study permits that would allow such foreigners to stay in the province for four years. Most of the students from other countries who have come to CSU in the past were exchange students who stayed for only a year.

Ollet disclosed that the field office can also issue special working permits, particularly for foreign music acts who have been invited to stage concerts. It will be able to process and issue Emigration Clearance Certificates for other nationalities who have stayed here for more than six months, who need to secure the clearance before he is allowed to depart from the country.

On the other hand, the ACR Icard is required of foreigners as a valid identification card in transacting business with the banks and government agencies.

The BI official also bared that another service it can provide is counselling services for those who have plans to go abroad so that possible human trafficking can be prevented. Its officers can also arrest illegal aliens especially those who are engaged in gainful employment despite being on a tourist visa.

Ollet also paid a courtesy call on Acting Governor Shirley Abundo and presented the same proposal.

He told both Mayor Laynes and Abundo that if either local government unit accedes to the proposal, the field office could be open before the end of the year.

The memorandum of agreement, however, would have to be signed in the soonest possible time to allow the BI to procure the needed computer equipment as well as furniture and fixtures for the local office.

A native of Palta Big, Virac who is a graduate of the CSU Laboratory Schools, Ollet finished his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the same university in 2011 and passed the board exam soon after. He enlisted into the Officer Candidate’s Course at the Philippine Army and was about to jump off for basic training when he changed his mind and applied with the BI where a Viracnon, Joseph Abundo, was head of the human resource office.

He told the Tribune that during the time of then Immigration Commissioner and former Governor Leandro Verceles Sr., a BI field office was established at the capitol but was apparently closed after a while.

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