On 16 April 2019, Senatorial Candidate Erin Tañada commended the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for its tough stance on corruption within its ranks, “Ang Bureau of Immigration ang first line of defense ng borders natin. Buti tuloy-tuloy ang pagtanggal ng mga corrupt. Kung pabayaan natin ang mga ‘yun baka kung sinu-sino ang makapasok sa Pilipinas, tulad ng drug triad at iba pang kriminal na sindikato.”
On February 2, 2019, it was reported that lawyers Arnulfo Maminto, Alex G. Recinto, and Justin Joy Valdez were dismissed from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for allegedly extorting more than 1 billion pesos from Chinese nationals applying for work visas in the Philippines. They used to be assigned to BI satellite offices in SM North EDSA and SM Aura.
A few months later, on April 10, 2019, it was reported 15 South Korean nationals in Angeles, Pampanga were threatened by BI personnel with detention for overstaying unless they paid from 280,000 to 1 million pesos each. All in all, more than 9.4 million pesos were extorted. The 18 BI agents involved in the extortion attempt were either suspended or dismissed soon afterwards.
From 2016 to 2018, the BI issued more than 300,000 working visas and special work permits to Chinese nationals. A substantial percentage of these working visas and work permits were issued to foreigners in the construction and online gambling industries.
Tañada said, “ang lumalabas, parang nagiging automatic ang pag-issue ng work visa basta kayang magbayad ng tara. Dapat maging mas mahigpit naman sila, lalo sa mga trabahong kayang gawin ng Pilipino, lalo na sa construction. Yung Chinese nationals na involved sa online gambling, ‘yan ang mga binanggit ni Sec. Dominguez na hindi nagbabayad ng income tax. 3 billion daw buwan-buwan ang hindi nako-kolekta. Kaya kung hindi tayo naging maingat, nawalan na nga tayo ng source of public revenue, nawalan pa tayo ng trabaho para sa Pilipino.”