Global Immigration Update: Philippines, Thailand, Singapore

By Elaine Martin Aug 19, 2014

Philippines-Born Foreign Nationals Still Immigrants

The Filipino Bureau of Immigration recently ruled foreign nationals who are born in the Philippines are still considered immigrants.

The announcement was made on Aug. 6, 2014. It was in response to the case of Bienvenido Toshio Shin, a 70-year-old man from the southern Philippine island Mindanao who inherited his father’s Japanese citizenship. Shin had intended to take a trip to Japan, but ran into some issues when immigration authorities said he was an overstaying foreign national. This is because he obtained a Japanese passport via a petition to the Tokyo Family Court in March.

The bureau’s press release said any individual who enters the country retains the nationality he or she was born with. Entry applies to the moment that individual sets foot in the Philippines.

“If the foreign national was born in the Philippines, he is considered to have ‘entered’ at the time of his birth,” said Elaine Tan, a bureau spokeswoman. “Thus, if he is leaving the country for the first time under a foreign passport, he must present proof that all immigration dues have been settled.”

Thailand Cracks Down on Visa Overstays

TR Weekly reported that the crackdown from the Thai Immigration Bureau includes higher penalties and more extensive bans for those who violate their visa terms.

The following bans are effective for overstays if the offender surrenders to law enforcement officials:

  • More than 90 days: one-year ban.
  • More than one year: three-year ban.
  • More than three years: five-year ban.
  • More than five years: 10-year ban.

Additionally, those who overstay for fewer than 90 days and present themselves to immigration officials will be issued a fine of 500 baht (U.S. $15.65) per day, up to a maximum of 20,000 baht, according to In the event that offenders are apprehended before presenting themselves at the departure point, the penalties are noticeably stricter. For overstays of less than a year, there is a five-year ban. There is a 10-year ban for overstays of more than one year in this instance.

Moreover, visitors will be required to sign an Acknowledgment of Penalties for a Visa Overstay form when they obtain or extend their visas.

Employees on international assignment who do not adhere to the new overstay rules could be subject to these severe penalties, even if they only overstay their visa for a short time.

The Immigration Bureau’s acting commissioner, Lt. Gen. Sakda Chuenpakdee, submitted the proposal to the Ministry of the Interior and said that the implementation timeline is not yet clear, though the new forms have already been distributed at checkpoints throughout the country.

There shouldn’t be too much trouble getting the policy update implemented, as the crackdown on visa overstays has been on the radar for some time. This is because of the large number of foreigners who come to the country under a tourist visa with the intention to work. Reports say that there could be thousands or tens of thousands of individuals working in Thailand illegally. Border runs, which allowed visitors to stay for additional days as long as they left and re-entered the country in the same day, were also eliminated.

Singapore Requires Advertising for Some Employment Pass Applications

Employers who intend to file for an employment pass (including a change of employer pass for a foreign national already in Singapore) will need to advertise the job vacancy for 14 days before filing. The job must be posted on the Singapore Workforce Development Agency’s official job bank, and include job title, closing date, skills, qualifications, experience and salary range.

The following positions are exempt from the job posting requirement:

  • Jobs in companies with 25 or fewer employees.
  • Jobs with a salary of SGD 12,000 (approximately U.S. $9,660) or more per month.
  • Assignments lasting less than a month.
  • Positions to be filled by intra-company transferees. Effectively, this refers to transferees who meet the following criteria: (a) are managers, executives or have advanced specialized knowledge; and (b) have worked for the company outside Singapore for at least a year.

Employers who recruit recent graduates have special requirements under the new legislation. They can use job ads that were posted up to two years before the employment pass application date.

Elaine Martin is director, Immigration Services for Paragon GeoImmigration, a provider of global business immigration services in more than 150 countries.

Republished with permission. © 2014 Paragon GeoImmigration.

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