The Bureau of Immigration needs to hire more than 1,500 immigration officers to address the “lack of manpower” in the bureau that has led to delays in the processing of documents, long queues at the international airports and intelligence work.
Immigration Deputy Commissioner Aldwin Alegre said the bureau needed at least 800 intelligence officers to be deployed nationwide, while another 700 as fingerprint examiners, translators, IT personnel Immigration Officers and Immigration Assistants.
The BI, with an allocated budget of P1.5 billion, has only 107 intelligence agents to go after foreigners allegedly involved in illegal activities nationwide.
Of the 107 BI agents, 53 were hired under job order.
The bureau recorded 5.6 million tourist arrivals in October this year, while there are more than 2 million foreign residents, mostly workers in the country.
“Right now, we only have 107 intelligence agents, 53 were job orders nationwide,” Alegre said, adding “low salary is the reason why many are not applying to work in bureau.”
He said the bureau is urging congress to expedite the passage of a bill that seeks to address the problem of low pay in the BI.
Alegre said the new immigration law now pending before congress seeks to reorganize and rename the BI to the Commission on Immigration and to upgrade the compensation and benefits of its officials and employees, among other reforms meant to strengthen the agency.
“We hope that the bill will be given priority by the President and by the second quarter of 2020, we will have a new immigration law,” he said.
“The lack of manpower continues to impede our delivery of efficient services. We intend to employ more immigration officers in the next several months to strengthen our border security and provide a fast and smooth processing to the traveling public,” Alegre added.