Kathmandu, January 9
The Department of Immigration has pledged to upgrade the country’s immigration system in compliance with international standards.
At a press meet organised in Kathmandu today, DoI Director General Ishwar Raj Paudel said the immigration system, mainly at Tribhuvan International Airport, would meet international standards by next year. “We have also proceeded with reforms to put an end to malpractices and anomalies sullying the image of the country’s immigration service,” he informed.
According to the DoI, issues related to immigration management incorporated into the Home Administration Reforms Action Plan issued by the home minister have been implemented in an effective manner. The DoI upgraded the IMMI Software being used in immigration management to make it contemporary. The Immigration Policy drafted by the DoI is in the process of being approved. The Foreign Citizens’ Monitoring Directives was recently approved by Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa and is under implementation. The Immigration Procedures is awaiting approval while the Immigration Act drafted and submitted by the DoI is undergoing clause-wise discussion.
“We are going to establish state-of-the-art desks equipped with biometric and iris recognition technology to maintain scientific records of foreign passengers arriving in and departing from the TIA within one year. The process of installing biometric gates is under way,” DG Paudel said. Biometrics are an individual’s unique physical and behavioural characteristics. Passengers would have their iris scanned along with their boarding pass at both the entrance and exit to the international departures lounge, making sure that the right person enters and leaves the airport.
Similarly, it is preparing to convert the existing visa sticker into machine readable visa of international standards in line with ICAO security standards. The DoI is also working in coordination with the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police, National Investigation Department and district administration offices to conduct investigation into immigration crimes in an effective and speedy manner.
According to DG Paudel, authorities are monitoring the activities of foreigners visiting Nepal to control immigration offences. The Foreign Citizen’ Monitoring Directives envisages central level monitoring and regulation committee led by DoI director general and district level committee led by chief district officer to control illegal activities of foreigners staying in Nepal. As many as 84 foreign nationals have been expelled for committing immigration offences so far this fiscal.
“DoI has directed all its employees at TIA not to be tempted by any agent or human trafficking racket to ensure that no Nepali citizen is trafficked to foreign countries. We have initiated action against some employees involved in such acts,” Paudel claimed.
A version of this article appears in print on January 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.