Immigration Task Force in Need of Funding to Re-engage

by Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Rimbink Pato has admitted he wants to re-engage the Special Immigration Task Force set up to look into illegal immigrants, although funding is an issue.

The Special Immigration Task Force was previously headed by coordinator John Bria. The team made several arrests but were dissolved in 2012.

Since then, the number of illegal immigrants and illegal activities has increased.

After almost a month, Minister Pato says he has intentions to re-engage the Special Immigration Task Force, but says he needs to look at the funding aspect before making any decisions.

While the Minister says his office needs to sort out this out, the influx of illegal immigrants and illegal businesses operating in the country has prompted other Members of Parliament who have lobbied to re-engage the force.

Northern Governor and Former Customs Commissioner Gary Juffa supported calls to re-engage the Special Immigration Task Force, as well as Opposition strongman and Vanimo Green MP Belden Namah.

The increased number of foreigners engaged in disreputable activities and breaches of PNG law has even prompted calls on social media from citizens to revive the task force.

Whether or not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration revives the Special Immigration Task Force depends entirely on government funding.

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