Dubai: Philippine missions in the UAE have revised rules in getting affidavits of support for Filipinos who wish to sponsor their relatives as tourists to the UAE.
Filipinos sign an affidavit of support and guarantee with the Philippine embassy and consulate to sponsor a relative to visit the UAE. The affidavit states that the sponsor will provide all the financial support his or her relative needs in the UAE, including board and lodging.
The affidavit is not a UAE requirement — nor is it an official requirement by the Philippine government.
Yet Filipinos resort to getting this affidavit to show immigration officials in Manila that they are eligible to travel as tourists since their sponsors will take care of them while abroad.
Based on a Philippine embassy advisory posted late February, Filipinos can only sponsor relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity such as spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchildren, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, first cousin, and in-laws. Authenticated birth certificates and/or marriage certificates should support this claim.
Also, only those earning more than Dh3,500 can sponsor. Holders of servant’s visa, nanny or family driver’s visa are not allowed to sponsor relatives.
“[The exclusion was made] because we believe they do not have the capacity to sponsor someone as a tourist here. Considering that they live with their employers, I don’t think any employer would let their nanny’s relatives stay in their place,” Deputy Consul-General Giovanni Palec told Gulf News.
The changes were made to make sponsors accountable for their sworn statements, Palec sad. The affidavit states the person being sponsored shall not be a public burden and that he is not visiting the UAE to look for work.
“What we’re seeing now is there has been a big increase in the number of Filipino tourists coming to the UAE to work. Recently, we’ve seen many of them getting into trouble and seeking help from us,” Palec said.
“They [sponsors] can be made liable for perjury. They will be made to reimburse the government for any expenses incurred to repatriate their relatives since they are the sponsors,” Palec said.
Palec clarified the move is intended to curb human trafficking. Since hiring Filipina maids from the Philippines legally through agencies has stopped, many resort to the illegal act of recruiting Filipinas by letting them enter the UAE as tourists and later hiring them as maids.
Migrant rights group Migrante Middle East, however, disagrees. The group has been staunchly campaigning for the scrapping of the affidavit since 2004.
“We believe that this document will not curb human trafficking but will only fuel corruption. Under the Philippine Constitution, any Filipino can travel freely as a tourist and this affidavit is not even mentioned. We consider this affidavit a form of state exaction,” Nhel Morona, an official of Migrante Middle East, said.
1) Authenticated birth or marriage certificates to prove relationship with person being sponsored;
2) Passport copy of the Affiant (sponsor) and the Visitor/Tourist;
3) Salary certificate of the applicant, duly stamped by the company and on the company letterhead, must be presented. Minimum salary Dh3,500;
4) Copy of the trade licence of the travel agency or the company facilitating the tourist visa;
5) Copy of the tourist visa, and
6) Copy of hotel booking. If staying in the residence of the sponsor, copy of lease contract of the sponsor.