By MALUM NALU
The PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority (PNGICSA) has introduced a more-secure machine-readable passport which incorporates photo-ghost imaging on the personal particular page.
Chief immigration officer, Mataio Rabura, said PNG citizens applying for new passports as of last month were being issued the new ‘C’ series passport, which incorporated the new security features.
“PNGICSA is moving closer towards introducing a biometric e-passport that will incorporate personal bio-data and additional identifiers such as fingerprinting and iris information, embedded on a microchip to minimize the risk of PNG passports being used for fraudulent purposes,” he said.
Rabura said the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had been engaged by PNGICSA to undertake an audit of its current passport-issuing systems and processes, and making recommendations on appropriate hardware and software that would greatly enhance processing of applications and automated issuing of passports.
“The ICAO will also assist PNGICSA to evaluate existing passport systems with a view to procuring a system offering the best security features and value for money to PNG,” he said.
“PNGICSA will also be trialling electronic lodgement of passport and visa applications via the internet shortly.
“An announcement on the launch of these e-based intiatives will be made soon.”
Rabura said these initiatives were part of the current review of PNGICSA’s processes and policies to meet the Government’s initiatives and objectives.
He said they were based on the approved 2013-2016 Key Priority Activities (KPAs) schedule, which was envisaged to improve service delivery by increasing the authority’s manpower through recruitment, review of migration legislation, and the establishment of additional ports both domestically and internationally.
These include Wutung, Lae, Tokua and other provincial ports to follow, and regional international hub-processing centres at established PNG overseas missions/posts to “cater for the booming economic demands experienced in the country”.