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PM Marape tells illegal Foreigners living in PNG to leave

Papua New Guiena Prime Minister James Marape has warned illegal immigrants in the country to move out voluntarily before they are caught.

He said the fine will be K10,000 or if they don't pay up they will be imprisoned in the country.

James Marape when visiting the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Services and Border Security this week said, foreigners who enter the country must respect the country's laws and abide by them.

He said there are genuine foreigners in the country who are here to invest and conduct businesses and they must be respected.

However, he said others enter the country through illegal means and those are the ones authorities like PNG Immigration, police and Labour must work together to identify and deport them.

"Its a warning to all illegal foreigners now, you better depart before we catch you.

"If you fail to take heed of this warning you will be locked up in Bomana.

"We got a facility at Bomana build for asylum seekers and half the time it's doing nothing, we can use that facility.

"It's warning to all illegal immigrants we will slap you with K10,000 fine and if you cant pay we will lock you up in that facility, said Marape.

Meantime its understood, the PNG ICA under the leadership of the former Chief Migration Officer Mr. Solomon Kantha a Joint Agency Spot Check Operation or JASCO was in place to work on the issue of illegal foreigners and their activities in the country.

PNGICA with the support of other agencies such as RPNGC, IPA, DLIR, Customs, Censorship Office, BPNG and Health Inspection authorities have conducted checks in NCD and other provinces.

Each agency supports the operational costs for its officers and it was an ongoing compliance check mechanism that empowers the respective agencies to fulfill their mandate.

The JASCO arrangement was lead by PNGICA.

According to previous reports, the joint agency operation was doing very well with many illegal foreigners being deported.

In 2018 and 2019, ICA has deported over 100 unlawful non-citizens for various breaches of the Migration Act and the other agencies have imposed their own fines for breaches of their legislation.

Now with the new PNG Immigration and Citizenship Service, and Border Security Minister, and new Acting Chief Migration Officer, it is unclear whether JASCO is still operating.

NBC News has approached PNGICA to get the progress update of that team and other measures put in place as a compliance mechanism to deal with these issues on illegal foreigners, but they are yet to provide their responses.

NBC News / PNG Today

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