An operation sanctioned by the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority has found 30 foreigners of Asian origin in breach of immigration laws with no proper documents.
They were alleged to be in possession of fraudulent visa and work permits and most of them cannot speak English.
The Special Investigation team from ICA and police are in Popondetta and made these discoveries yesterday on their first stop at one of the five logging sites in the province.
The team comprises immigration officers and police detectives from the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate.
The Special Investigation team, led by ICA’s Special Taskforce Coordinator, John Bria is in Northern Province conducting spot checks.
With Northern Province playing host to five logging sites, the team made their first stop at the nearest logging site in Sambora in the Sohe District.
Here, the team found 30 foreigners of the Philippines and Indonesian origin working using fraudulent visas and work permits, and most of them could not speak English.
English is a mandatory requirement in obtaining a work permit and members of the investigation team have questioned the process they followed to obtain these documents.
The detectives suspect there is a massive fraud involving foreigners, agents, and government officers and further investigations will determine this.
This spot check at Sambora also discovered that two different companies operated out of the same area with both companies not having proper documents to conduct business in the country.
The team also found that the machines and vehicles operated by the companies were not registered.
They have therefore confiscated a total of 30 passports, 30 work permit documents, 25 PNG General Working Permit Identification Cards, Vehicle Registration Documents, Company business Registrations Documents, and one driver’s license.
The documents will be returned to the owners at the completion of the investigations.
The concerned foreigners with discrepancies in their documents are expected to be arrested and criminally charged for being in possession of fraudulent documents.
In order for this to happen, the team has now summoned the two companies to bring in their agent who is said to be their point of contact between them and the government agencies responsible for issuing work permits and visas.
Northern Governor Gary Juffa who has been vocal about these issues, welcomed the team to the province and said this is important to ensure foreigners comply with PNG’s Immigration and border security laws.
H added that these investigations were important at this time when the world is facing the global crisis of COVID-19.
He says PNG as a nation must ensure that foreigners have proper documents while doing business in this country.
Meantime, the team will continue its investigations in other hot spots in the province.