Foreign Affairs Ministry to engage police in visa check

National, Normal

THE Foreign Affairs Ministry is trying to arrange for police intelligence officers to be assigned to overseas missions to screen visa applications.
Deputy secretary for Foreign Affairs Elias Woyengu told a Parliament Inquiry into the anti-Asian riots yesterday that some visa applications had been forged and that some applicants also provided false information.
“We need police to screen applications,” he said, adding the Foreign Affairs Department had tightened up some of its processes with assistance from Australia.
He said Foreign Affairs in the past had a computerised system but this had hit a snag because technology was changing.
He said the Australian government was assisting in setting up a system which the department hope would link up with all stakeholders including Air Niugini and travel agents.
Mr Woyengu said the department could not put tracking devices on everyone that come into the country.
He also raised concerns that there were no holding or detention facilities available in the country.
“Anyone in breach of immigration laws cannot be held in police cells, and most are released until deported.”