Immigration detains 50 foreigners without visas

National

THE PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) has confirmed that it has placed 50 non-citizens unlawfully into the new Bomana Immigration Centre (BIC).
Under the PNG Migration Act 1978, anyone in PNG without a valid visa is an unlawful non-citizen and warrants immigration detention and removal.
Following the biggest immigration operation in PNG, chief migration officer Solomon Kantha said: “ICA has taken this action as a last resort. These individuals have been aware for some time that they had no right to remain in PNG. For some, it has been three years or more.
“Non-refugees are unlawfully here in the same way as someone who overstays his visa or an individual who crosses our borders illegally – they have no visa, no right to remain in our country and must depart.”
Kantha praised the work of the ICA enforcement team, thanked other law enforcement agencies for their support in the operation and recognised the role of ICA’s health services provider who supported the operation.
ICA’s decision to detain the unlawful non-citizens was taken after all efforts to encourage voluntary departure had failed.
Kantha said: “These persons have been provided ongoing support and access to services well beyond what is afforded to everyday PNG citizens.
“More recently and despite their unlawful status, all have been accommodated in quality hotels here in Port Moresby – where they were not only free to go shopping and sightseeing but were provided with all their meals and healthcare.
“Despite ICA’s best efforts to provide support to these individuals and encourage voluntary departure and generous financial assistance – over K70,000 for each person – they chose to remain in PNG unlawfully.”

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