I am currently trapped in a country that is not my own and I cant get out. I have been living in The Philippines since March 2014. I moved here with my Filipino wife and our three (3) young children aged, 6,4 and 2 years old. Prior to moving to the Philippines I was in my own country alone with my wife and kids, I have a good full time job and was supporting my family and also supporting my wife parents and her sibling back in The Philippines, sending them money via Western union.
My wife was given a spouse visa in 2011 which was valid for 3 years, her visa was due to expire in March of 2014. My wife told me she was homesick and that she didnt want to renew her visa and talked me into returning to The Philippines and a promise of a good carefree life. I gave into my wife and we move in March 2014.
Soon after arrive in The Philippines our marriage broken down and we ended up living apart, she kept our children as the law in The Philippines states the mother has custody until the ages of 7 years old. I kept on supporting my kids as i moved away from my wife’s home town. I was running out of money and my wife was demanding and blackmailing me for more and more money. The money didn’t last long.
I had no choice but to find work in The Philippines, the only option of a job was in an English customer based call center. At this point I didn’t return to my country as I did not want to leave my children here in fear of loosing them forever. I though if i can work in The Philippines i could still have a connection with them better then I would have if I left The Philippines. I got a job and the company gave me a working visa which is called a 47 (a) 2 visa this allowed me to work and remain in The Philippines, I was earning money not a lot but it was enough for me to support my needs and a little money for my kids too.
I worked for just under a year and it was time to review my 47 (a) 2 visa, but my company was not able to renew it and therefor I had no other choice but to stop work. By the time I had finished working I had enough money for my flight home, so i went to the the immigration office and asked to have my visa downgraded from 47 (a) 2 visa to a non immigrant visa (tourist visa) so I could leave The Philippines. Not as simple as i thought. I was told i couldn’t apply for downgrading as the visa was not issued by the immigration office, and that I would have to get a letter from my ex employer requesting the downgrading and submit this document to the Department of Justice (DOJ) who where the one to issues the 47 (a) 2 visa. This was the first time I was aware of this.
So I asked my ex employer to provide this documents, 3 months later I was handed this such document after a lot of calls to my ex employer over the last 3 month I got what i needed by this time my 47 (a) 2 visa had already expired. So I had no valid visa. I proceed to the (DOJ) and handed them my documents they received them and told me to wait 1 month and come back to collect the paperwork, another month wait so my visa had expire 4 months already. eventually I got the documents from (DOJ) and proceed to the immigration office for submitting of the downgrading request now from the (DOJ). I was told again to wait another 2 months. Total of 6 months my visa had expired by.
After another 2 months I returned to immigration office and was to to go and submit this document to the Philippines Economic Zone (PEZA) All this time I was running out of money and no i didn’t have the money for my flight. Once I got to (PEZA) I gave my documents 10 minutes later I was told my visa had already expired and I would need to pay 6 months penalty. OMG i asked how much would it be they told me it would be 50,000 peso ($1006.95) I told them I didn’t have the money, they said I had 4 weeks to pay, they then gave me another document and told me to proceed to the cashier, for what I asked, you need to pay processing fee 5,000 peso ($100.64), I didn’t have that money I said i dint have the 5000, the cashier said you don’t have any money?. I had what was my options if I didn’t have the money to pay my penalty. I was told that I would have to stay in The Philippines until you get the money.
I went to my embassy for help, thinking they could help me get out of this hell of a situation. Told the embassy my story, and was told they cant help me with any funds, and they didn’t do indigence (deportation) why? the government does not have funds, who are the ones who would pay for my visa and flights. I didn’t have money that would waver the visa penalty fees. All the embassy said they could do is contact my friends and family on my behalf and ask then to give me money. But my family and friends didn’t have the funds to help me.
I felt let down by my country and at that moment I thought I would end up living homeless with no food no money and no visa for the rest of my life. I have contacted so many people in high positions in my home country and no one is able or willing to help me get out of The Philippines. I have sold all of my items that I could get money for just to eat. I really hope that there is someone that could help me get out of The Philippines and return home to my country to i could work and earn my own money and fight for the custody of my kids who do not belong in The Philippines.
Im writing this as a lost resort I have literally used all possible options I have and what other people have tried to do even the embassy has done all it can for me.
I am willing to return all moneys given to me once i have employment back in my country and appreciate any help I received.
Thank you for reading my story