Go refiles Immigration Modernization Act

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has reintroduced in the 19th Congress Senate Bill 1185 or the proposed Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act of 2022 meant to improve immigration services in the country.

In his explanatory note, Go said the Commonwealth Act of 1940 which provided the mandate of the BI is “an outdated law passed during the American regime.” While amendments have been introduced over the years, Go noted that the immigration system needs to be updated to reflect the present challenges of modern times.

The senator added that outdated mechanisms affect the functions and efficiency of the agency to provide quality service to the people. Therefore, there is a pressing need to modernize the BI.

Go’s proposed measure intends to upgrade the existing positions of the officials and employees of the agency to adequately meet the country’s rapidly increasing immigration services.

Under the bill, coterminous positions are created for the Office of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners. New positions will also be created under the Directorate for Planning and Research, and Directorate for Human Resources Management and Development.

The creation of new positions, according to Go, could boost the productivity and efficiency of the BI.

The Commissioner may also make changes in the composition, distribution, and assignment of field offices, as well as its personnel, based on the demographics of the foreign nationals and as the exigency of the service requires.

Valid passport
Under the proposed measure, immigrants or non-immigrants must present for admission into the Philippines valid passports issued by the governments of the countries to which they owe allegiance or other travel documents showing their nationality and identity as prescribed by regulations; a valid visa granted by the Philippine Immigration Attaché, if required; and such other relevant documents as may be required under existing laws, rules, regulations, or multilateral or bilateral agreements.

The measure prescribes an initial period of authorized stay of a foreign national admitted as a temporary visitor.

It also seeks to improve the salary grade, emoluments, and other benefits received by the bureau officials and employees to “properly compensate their hard work and to address the apparent disparity among agencies performing comparable functions,” said Go.

If passed into law, the BI Board of Commissioners will be authorized to retain and use every year 30 percent of its collections from immigration fees, fines and penalties, and other income that may be collected by the bureau for the effective implementation of the measure.

An Immigration Trust Fund will also be created and sourced from the collections.

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