Immigration Dept up to the challenge

January 27, 2022

The Immigration Department stands fast at the post and maintains efficient services despite the riots in 2019 and the spread of COVID-19 in 2020 that posed unprecedented challenges to the Government.


The department made the statement when reviewing its work of 2021. Among other things, it covers national security, the handling of non-refoulement claims, combating the epidemic and services at control points.


The department said it has strived to exercise effective immigration control amid the volatile pandemic situation, noting that passenger clearance services at some control points have been suspended since the end of January 2020 due to the pandemic.


It has introduced measures to facilitate employers' applications for extending the validity periods of contracts with foreign domestic helpers and for the deferral of their home leave.


Under the Smart Renewal service launched last March and expanded in July, regardless of whether the visa applications for further employment of the helpers are submitted online, by post or drop-in box, employers can collect the visas by post upon approval that evades the formalities at the department offices.


As at the end of 2021, there were 118,692 applications in which the visas were collected by post through the Smart Renewal service.


Regarding the handling of non-refoulement claims, the department said it flexibly deployed manpower and increased resources to cope with the growing number of claims received during the epidemic.


In 2021, it processed a total of 2,220 non-refoulement claims with decisions. As at the end of that year, there were 741 claims that are pending screening.


On national security front, the Immigration Service Institute of Training & Development has made national security training compulsory for new recruits and provided relevant training to newly recruited civilian staff.


The year 2021 marked the 60th anniversary of the Immigration Department. The department said it is steadfast in its duty to serve the public and committed to being the foremost immigration service in the world in effectiveness and efficiency.

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