Press Release
March 13, 2010

Villar warns OFWs vs student visa fraud

Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Manny Villar cautioned Filipinos against being lured into applying for United Kingdom (UK) student visas for the purpose of entering and working in the said state.

Villar said that many Filipinos who gained entry to UK using student visas are currently experiencing severe hardships as "working students."

"Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nagkakaroon ng masaklap na karanasan. Sa layo ng eskwelahan, natutulog ang iba sa bus o train station, o kaya ay nakikituloy sa mga bahay ng kapwa Pilipinong naaawa sa kanila," the NP standard-bearer said.

The UK government started to implement strict measures for student visa holders, allowing them to put in only a maximum of 10 hours of work per week while being required to report for school at least once a week.

Villar underscored that Filipino student visa holders are usually given a £6+ (six pounds) per hour of work which is not enough to enable them to recover their payment to the agency or expenses in obtaining the student visa, which is valid only for two years.

At the same time, the NP bet asked the government to go after agencies enticing aspiring overseas Filipino workers to try their luck in the UK using student visas and misleading and duping them.

Villar stressed that Filipino student visa holders struggle with the high cost of living in the UK, paying house rental ranging from £400 to £900, exclusive of other bills such as gas, power, water, communications, and required licenses and council taxes.

The NP presidential bet earlier set up a helpline dedicated to distressed overseas Filipino workers, Sagip-OFW, to give threatened OFWs avenue to air their plight for assistance. Villar has helped over 8,000 distressed migrant workers.

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