By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
POLICE and immigration officers have arrested 31 foreigners for breaching immigration laws and posing a serious threat to national security, says Chief Migration Officer Stanis Hulahau.
The 31 foreigners were arrested in Port Moresby and Lae in a clampdown on visa violation and non-compliance.
“This routine spot check operation will continue right around the country,” Hulahau said.
“The exercise is a result of intelligence gathering and assessment over time.
“It came after a three-month grace period of an in-country visa issuance exercise.”
In Port Moresby, 15 foreign nationals were arrested because their conduct posed a serious threat to national security.
In Lae, 16 foreign nationals were penalised for breaching immigration laws.
“As the key border security agency, we have an obligation to facilitate entry of foreign nationals and also protect our international borders from unscrupulous activities that are a threat to the national security and sovereignty of this country,” Hulahau said.
He said the authority always advised foreigners who had issues with their entry permits to seek assistance.
“However if you have discrepancies with your entry permit but fail to seek assistance from the ICA, you must know that you will be penalised (when) the ICA team catches up with you,” he said.
Hulahau said stringent measures had been put in place in the state agency resulting in seven ICA officers charged by police with criminal offences.
“I know there are critics about immigration officers involved in visa fraud. I cannot shift the blame, but I am here to clean up the place, put integrity back into this important organisation, encourage foreign investment and protect border security,” Hulahau said.
By MIRIAM ZARRIGA