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Affidavit of support for Filipinos made stricter

Lily B. Libo-on / 25 August 2011

DUBAI — The Philippine Consulate General in Dubai has tightened the requirements for securing the affidavit of support for Filipino expatriates. The affidavit of support is mandatory to bring their loved ones and relatives to the UAE on visit visa.

Since July 12, Filipino expatriates securing an affidavit of support from the Consulate are required to be present even if they file their visit visa at the UAE Immigration through travel agencies.  They are also required to have their affidavit of support in red ribbon.

These stricter requirements were imposed after the affidavit of support with counterfeit signatures of the Vice Consul Geronimo Suliguin were exposed.

Vice Consul Geronimo Suliguin told Khaleej Times that four documents with counterfeit signatures have been found.

It was done by some unscrupulous individuals linked to a travel agency sponsoring Filipinos on a visit visa to the UAE.  “Prior to this, travel agencies could apply on behalf of Filipino travelers to the UAE without the presence of the individuals executing the affidavit of support and without having the document submitted for red ribbon purposes.”

Suliguin said that the stricter requirement is to ensure that the document is genuine and bears the real signature of the Vice Consul.

“Someone, who was issued this counterfeited document was off-loaded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport sometime in July because his affidavit of support was found to be fictitious.”

The Vice Consul said that the victim reported the matter to the Consulate General, which led to an exhaustive investigation that yielded three more counterfeited documents filed with the Consulate in different occasions.

He also said that a daily list of individuals who have been issued the affidavit is now furnished to the UAE Immigration officials at the Dubai International Airport to ensure that those Filipino travelers reaching Dubai are carrying bona fide documents from the Consulate.  “We have furnished sample signatures of signatory officials and the kind of paper we are using in the issuance of the affidavit of support.

We discovered that those counterfeited documents were made on inferior quality paper.”

On July 12, the Consulate summoned the individuals involved in the counterfeit documents. Some foreigners were also involved in bringing in Filipinos after promising them jobs.

During the Consulate’s investigation, it was found that these counterfeit documents were sold at Dh350. Yet some Filipinos fell for this kind of arrangement for lack of time to visit the Consulate and process the document and for fear that they would be interviewed and would be found not qualified to sponsor their loved ones on account of low salary.

An affidavit of support issued from the Consulate costs only Dh100.

A verbal note has been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) requesting for an investigation of the said incidents.

lily@khaleejtimes.com

 
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