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“Do unto others what you want done unto you.” – The Golden Rule
This is an open letter to everyone who plan on going abroad. Especially to those who have applied for and have been granted any visa (visitor, work, marriage, student etc.), and for those who are as of now contemplating or planning to apply for visas. And most especially to those from countries that tolerate corruption and fraud.
I totally understand the need to have a better life for yourself and your family, or mainly for yourself. I truly understand the need to earn more money. Everyone wants to earn more money, who doesn’t? I so understand the desperation you may be in, the deep desire to move out of the country because of the belief that “the grass is greener on the other side.” But do you really have to go against the conditions of the visa you just applied for (find work when you’re only allowed to visit family and friends, create false work documents to prove you have done this and that type of work)? The consul or the officer who has granted you the visa has done it in good faith that you will follow the visa conditions and return to your home country. And now you have to screw that up, risk everything, and try to find work when it’s stated in the visa label that you’re not allowed to do so? Do you really have to be disrespectful of a country’s immigration rules just to have a better life? There’s a reason why there are rules in the first place. Just think about it. If these foreigners come to the Philippines and decide to not follow our laws and regulations. Do you actually allow them to do that also?
Let me explain the ethics side of this. If I replace countries with people, for example if you have been entrusted by a friend or family member to take care of something or someone, but instead of following them you destroy the item or spend the money, even go out somewhere when they expressly didn’t allow you to do that. And when they find out that that’s what actually happened, how would you think the other person would feel? That you broke the trust they gave you? Wouldn’t they put restrictions on you because of that? If you were on the other side of the coin, the one who gave trust to someone and they did break that trust, how would that make you feel? Really, be honest with yourself here. The same principle applies when it comes to immigration rules and agreements.
Also I would like to touch on religion here because I’m sure anyone of you belongs to a religious organization. If you do believe in whatever word for God is in your faith, then does God actually tolerate corruption and fraud? Look at passages in any of the holy books and see their views on it. Does God or the gods of your religion actually like those things? Isn’t it then a paradox to say you love God and believe in Him but commit fraudulent acts? Do you really think you can get away with it? That’s up to the government of your host country to decide.
I mean, your life is not as bad as that of the Syrians, Africans and the Jews before them, isn’t it? Or is it really? Is your life really in dire straits that you have to move to another country? Is someone threatening your life and your family’s life? If you were now granted a visa to visit a country of your own choice, you definitely have the money and the means to do so, whether with the current job you’re in or borrowing from other people. Why resort to breaching visa conditions? Have you thought about the possibility of being banned from coming back to your dream country for a decade or something like that? You don’t want that, for sure. But some would still try to risk it. Why? Why risk it if you’re not a true refugee, if the country you’re from is not suffering from civil war or airstrikes? There are always many ways to go about getting a visa and being honest with answering questions in the documents.
I wrote this post because I’m concerned that future generations will not be able to enjoy the freedom that comes with travel because the countries are very strict on one or few particular groups of people or races and countries. And also because of the undisciplined actions of your own fellowmen. I’m totally not against migrating because I myself am based overseas now. What I’m totally for is following the country’s rules, and what I’m against is not following visa conditions or lying to get employment and social security benefits. The reason why countries like the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and other First-World nations including Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore enjoy the freedom they have when traveling is because they were taught to be disciplined from day one side by side with independence. They were taught how to achieve their own goals in the right way: patience, perseverance, discipline, delayed gratification. And when it comes to the number of countries a citizen’s passport can enjoy traveling without a visa, United States has 172, United Kingdom has 173, New Zealand has 170. while the Philippines has 60, Mainland China has 45, India has 51.
And just so you’re aware: Even if the Philippines, China, India, and other countries tolerate corruption and fraud, in First-World countries you can be imprisoned and possibly detained for this. Here in New Zealand, you will be caught because its citizens can report the incident to authorities, as reported in this article about an NZ immigration officer of Chinese descent who was charged with fraud. In the United States, a married Chinese woman lied about being in love with a gay person to get US residency. For my fellow Filipinos, let me share with you a story of a Filipino who’s now in New York but who also realized that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
I’m sure there are two sides to every story, that there’s the fraudster and the victim. But the fact that the victim can afford to pay about $15,000 to create fake work documents for the New Zealand dairy industry is just incomprehensible for some. Now there are reports that the Filipino dairy workers who have gained work experience in dairy farms may get amnesty, but that’s for the NZ government to decide and they may or may not have control over it. If anyone can afford to get a visa, again why resort to fraud and corruption? There’s no corruption and fraud until the victim consents to it.
And for undocumented and “illegal” immigrants now in the United States, what if the next US president will track them down and deport them? What other options they have left? I’m sure the citizens of the United States and other countries are angry at the fact that while they are striving for a better life, here comes people who refuse to follow visa conditions and get work even when their visa expressly doesn’t allow them to do that.
So to summarize, here are the reasons why it’s very important to follow the rules of the adopted or host country:
1.) Prevent imprisonment, paying huge fines, or deportation to your home country, especially when they don’t tolerate corruption and fraud.
2.) Future generations get the opportunity to travel as you do. However, if you do not follow your visa conditions, you will prevent others from your own race and country to do so by putting more restrictions on you by the host countries. You see, the benefit is not only for you but also for everyone from your home country.
3.) You show respect for their way of dealing with matters most important to them. You will be visiting or working or marrying a citizen there anyway so just as well follow the rules. You also show respect for both the locals and the migrants who are already legally registered, who are striving to follow immigration rules.
4.) You help spread the good word about your culture to the citizens of your adopted country. You cannot control the racism or preconceived notions that some of them will show towards you, but your good actions does help.
There, I said everything I’ve wanted to say for a really long time. If you do heed the advice in this article, great. Otherwise, I really hope that the sleepless nights and the anxiety of not legally registered in the country you’re in now are really worth the risk of breaching the visa conditions. I wish you all the best in your endeavors and may you help contribute positively to the goodness of your own people and your home country.