Indefinite suspension of visa agent services in PNG

PNG Immigration and Border Security Minister Petrus Thomas. Picture: POST COURIER

PORT MORESBY, 30 MAY 2018 (POST COURIER) – Immigration services of passport and visa agents with Papua New Guinea Immigration and Citizenship Authority have been suspended indefinitely amid a visa fraud scandal.

The suspension, effective from Friday, June 1, was announced by Immigration and Border Security Minister Petrus Thomas.

Following the police investigations into the allegations of visa fraud by a passport and visa service agent and a Chinese national who was recently charged with bribery, Thomas had instructed the Chief Migration Officer to suspend all migration services provided by visa agent companies.

“All clients will have to lodge their applications directly with the Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA). There will be no more new applications accepted by June 1 from visa agents. This indefinite suspension will be in place until a policy regulating registration and monitoring of all agents is developed and put in place by ICA,” he said.

“This new process will ensure all visa and migration service agents or companies involved in providing migration services are thoroughly screened and go through a registration process.

“Companies will be held liable, charged and deregistered if they are found to engage in visa fraud or if they defraud clients.

Priority will also be given to local companies to be involved in these services.”

He said that ICA was assisting police in their investigations into the recent arrest of a Chinese national alleged to be involved in facilitating visa fraud and entry of non-citizens into the country through fraudulent visa applications.

He said they would continue to assist police and also investigate if any Immigration or other government officers are involved.

“Appropriate action will be taken against any Immigration or government officers found to be colluding with visa agents to facilitate fraudulent applications for visas,” Thomas said.