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Philippines to restrict Chinese visa-upon-arrival

The Philippines has decided not to scrap visas-upon-arrivals (VUAs) for Chinese tourists, instead opting for a 30-day VUA without provision for an extension, local media reports.

The notice was given by the Department of Justice on Sunday, by Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete.

"[The] amendment would not allow for any extension (for the) visa upon arrival. [It will have a] maximum of 30 days," said Perete.

Perete said it is also a single entry visa, meaning that the visa will lapse even if their stay is less than 30 days. 

"(They must show a) roundtrip ticket. If they’re coming in as tourists, they must have booked accommodations for every stop in their itinerary. The tour operator must be, of course, accredited, and the tour operator must provide all the details where they will be staying, [or show] proof of accommodations," he said. 

The previous rules of the VUA allowed the tourist to stay for 3 months, and extendible for another 3 months. 

The new visa will not be able to be converted into another type of visa, such as a work visa or resident visa, said Perete. 

He said the DOJ aims to publish the amendment next week, which will be effective after 15 days. 

The latest moves come amid a government crackdown on illegal Philippines workers, particularly in the POGO sector in Manila. 

Last year, the Philippines government said it will begin issuing GEL IDs in January in order to better track POGO workers for tax and immigration compliance purposes. 

GEL IDs will be issued at a cost of P4,000 (US$79) per individual. There are currently 100,000 foreign POGO workers operating in the Philippines. 

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