The PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority (ICA) today announced the signing of the Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Immigration with the Australian Department of Home Affairs.
Speaking at the annual Immigration Forum between PNG and Australia, Chief Migration Officer, Mr Solomon Kantha said that the agreement furtherstrengthened long standing relationship between the immigration agencies of the two countries.“ICA and Home Affairs are two of the leading border regulators in our region and close cooperation is critical to combating transnational crime, human trafficking and threats from extremist organisations”.
Mr Kantha said “the Australian Department of Home Affairs has a diverse remit beyond immigration - including emergency management, countering terrorism, cyber security policy and transport security.The establishment of the Agreement will provide ICA with access to further support and assistance– as well as access to the considerable resources of Home Affairs”.
Beyond finalising the cooperation agreement, Mr Kantha said the Immigration Forum was an opportunity for the senior officials charged with protecting the borders of PNG and Australia to meet and discuss priorities, strategies and innovations.The agenda included discussions on new visa products, systems to combat illegal entry of people, joint border patrols in the Torres Strait and a report on the streamlined solutions implemented by ICA to efficiently grant visas for APEC delegates.
Officials of both agencies also committed to further meetings on travel facilitation. Mr Kantha said “Australia is a chosen destination for many PNG nationals to holiday and do business, visit family or transit to other parts of the world. Increased travel facilitation is a priority for the Government and both agencies are committed to working towards even better outcomes”.
Mr Kantha said “Home Affairs and ICA share the responsibility of protecting our borders from those who would do us harm. I am pleased that we have renewed our relationship in the Forum and increased our capability through the Cooperation Agreement.