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Immigration nets 1,354 illegal immigrants in 2016

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The Immigration and Citizen Services Department has disclosed that in 2016 it arrested 1,354 illegal immigrants which is a drop from 2015’s records.

Statistics reveal that in 2015, the department arrested 1,911 illegal immigrants.

Director General for the department, Masauko Medi, said the drop has been among others, due to low funding.

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In the 2016/2017 financial year, the department which is tasked to collect revenue for government was allocated K455 million for its operations against last year’s provision of K463 million.

“From the 1,354 illegal immigrants, 388 have been deported, 365 others have so far been taken to Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Dowa and 74 are waiting for deportation,” he said.

Most of the illegal immigrants are from countries such as Nigeria, Pakistan, India, Rwanda and Burundi

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He admitted that the department had been facing challenges in 2016 in as far as issuing of passports is concerned.

“We no longer have any serious debts with any company and as such we have managed to issue 78, 195 passports against 77, 674 applications which we received in 2016,” he said.

Medi also highlighted that the department has managed to issue 1,600 business and work permits and 9,691 visas.

“Our mandate to provide permit services with support from the World Bank using electronic permit issuance system has been completed. We are now in the second phase of the project which is to identify a contractor to supply and install the system,” he said.

He said once the manual system phases out, the department is assured of effectiveness, efficiency, and rise in revenue collection as well as curbing fraud.

Despite inadequate funding, the department is upbeat on closing its target before its deadline in June 2017.

As of December 29 this year, the department had raised about K3.9 billion against the target of K6.9 billion for the 2016/2017 fiscal year.

Meanwhile in a bid to reduce illegal migration into the country, the department said it intends to purchase about 80 vehicles and three speed boats to reduce mobility challenges.

These will be distributed in all the four regions, district immigration offices and 36 border posts in the country including patrols on Lake Malawi.

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