The National - Illegal dependents



Illegal dependents can apply for visa amnesty, say lawyers

Detailed programme on visa status changes to be announced soon

Those who overstay their visa will be eligible to leave the country without

penalties or a ban on re-entry.

Lawyers said people must clear civil and criminal cases to be eligible to change

their visa status. In the case of children and other dependents, experts said the

law was clear.

“Dependents can avail of the immigration amnesty,” said Barney Almazar,

head of legal aid at the Philippine consulate and embassy.

“They are in a position to leave the country even if their father or mother has

police cases. The children don’t have to wait, as long as they have someone

to take care of them in the home country.

“The parents must face any existing criminal or civil cases and cannot leave

unless they pay the fine, serve the judgment and get clearance from the police.

They must face the court if they want to return.”

Previously, penalties and a ban on re-entering the country were imposed on

people without valid visas. A detailed programme on how to alter visa status

will be announced soon.

In the case of men and women who have children out of wedlock, officials have

explained that they will not be covered under amnesty and must face the legal

consequences. They can face up to one-year imprisonment.

In certain cases, the jail time can be commuted by the judge.

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