By JEFFREY ELAPA
MORE than 1,500 unclaimed passports are at the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Services at the Moale House, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration Sam Abal has revealed.
Abal said that many Papua New Guineans applied for passports but failed to collect them, adding that the documents were proof of their citizenship and, therefore, they should be claimed.
He said that a passport was an important document that was required by any citizen travelling overseas and it was a diplomatically-approved travel document.
Abal also warned people not to misuse their passports as if they were ordinary identification cards.
He noted that people had been using them as security to withdraw money at the banks and for other identification purposes.
“Many Papua New Guineans have been applying for passports to use as personal identification cards to do banking and for other purposes.
“Passports should not be used for such activities and people should not come and apply for passports for such purposes other than to use as a travel document,” he said.
On a related issue, Abal said that the National Executive Council had approved the opening of the PNG embassy in Singapore to take charge of all movement of people, particularly for the PNG LNG project.
He said that by upgrading the current consular office to full embassy status, the Singapore post would be staffed with Immigration and Citizenship Service officers to handle the likely increase in the number of visitors and contract officers applying to come to PNG.
Abal also said that staff strength for other overseas missions would be increased accordingly.
He said that plans were underway for another Australian office in Cairns, in addition to Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney.