By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby
50 non-Papua New Guinean citizens have been detained at the recently opened Bomana Immigration Centre outside of Port Moresby. PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) stated that this was the biggest immigration detention operation ever performed in PNG. Some of these detainees have been in the country for over three years, without visas.
The Immigration and Citizenship Authority did not disclose the identity of the detained 50 non-Papua New Guinea citizens, however, it is believed that these people are not under the refugee status, but have been detained under Papua New Guinea’s migration act to facilitate their departure back to their countries of origin.
Papua New Guinea’s Chief Migration Officer, Solomon Kanta, in a statement said that despite ICA’s effort to provide support to these individuals and encourage voluntary departure, along with financial assistance with over seventy thousand kina (K70, 000) each, the 50 have decided to remain in PNG unlawfully.
Under the PNG Immigration Act, 1978, anyone found living within the country without a valid visa is an unlawful non-citizen and will undergo immigration detention and faces removal from the country.