The PNG Immigration & Citizenship Service Authority will be implementing new stringent assessment and processing mechanisms to protect passports and visas from being falsified.
The authority will be making several changes to required accompanying documents to passport applications to ensure there are no falsified or misleading information.
In a public notice, Acting Chief Migration Officer, Solomon Kantha, says the changes were necessary due to the recent integrity issued concerning lodgment of applications for PNG passport by persons providing misleading or falsified information.
He said to address this, the following changes, which become effective as of March 01, have been made:
The old Birth Certificate with the blue hard cover on a certified copy of the old Birth Certificate will no longer be accepted. All clients are encouraged to obtain new genuinely issued PNG Birth Certificates and National Identify Card to attach with their passport applications.
The application form must be duly completed and certified by a Magistrate or Court Official from the National/Provincial/District Court House or a Legal Officer with the Commissioner for Oaths title. A copy of the ID (passport bio page, driver’s license, employee ID card) of the persons signing as Commissioner of Oaths and their contact number and address must be attached with the application. Applications verified by any ordinary Commissioner of Oaths will not be accepted.
Application forms will not be accepted from freelance agents other than the following;
Recognised and locally registered visa agents with the Investment Promotion Authority. Agent must provide copy of IPA company registration.
Individual application must be lodged personally and provide a form of ID when lodging.
Persons lodging applications on behalf of an applicant must provide a form of ID and declare their relationship to the applicant. Interviews will be conducted where necessary and parents or guardians are to sign on behalf of minors. Forms signed by agents will not be accepted.
Kantha further says the Authority will strictly adhere to a 15-day turn around process, except for those lodged under the fast-processing facility, which will require applicants to be present for a thorough screening and interview.
Applications lodged with employees of the Authority will not be entertained and will be dealt with accordingly.
The announcement follows recent questions raised about the process of obtaining PNG passports and visas which have been alleged to be manipulated.
The most recent being of Iranian refugee Loghman Sawari, who obtained a PNG passport and visa and travelled to Fiji to seek sanctuary.
The 21-year-old was deported back to PNG where he has been arrested and charged with falsifying passport documents under the PNG Passport Act of 1982.
Northern Governor, Gary Juffa, has also been vocal about the issue of visas and work permits, alleging the existence of a Bangladeshi syndicate that has entered the country through illegal visas and work permits, aided by suspected public servants.