FOUR senior Immigration Division officials have successfully completed a four-day training programme on electronic passports and border control and management systems in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last week as the Government moves to introduce e-Passports later this year.

A statement from the Immigration Division says the four-day training was delivered from 10th to 13th May 2016 by selected specialised personnel from Information and Management System Group of IRIS Corporation Berhad, a Malaysian company contracted by the national government to set the e-Passport technology here.

The training will equip the four officials with knowledge and skills required for the implementation of the e-passport and border control and management systems, expected to be available for all citizens by the end of 2016. 

The training is also part of the e-passport and border control and management systems Agreement signed in Honiara by IRIS Corporation Berhad and the Government on 25th November 2015, which the Immigration Division of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration is now implementing. 

The Agreement on the introduction of e-Passports is one of DCCG’s successful Public-Private partnership deal that will see IRIS Corporation setting up the required technology and infrastructure in Solomon Islands which the Immigration Division will later assumed ownership over.

The knowledge and skills gained from the training are expected to be passed on by the four officials to other immigration officers during the course of the implementation of the e-passport and border control and management systems during the year. 

Apart from the trainers’ training, the trip provides an opportunity for the Immigration officials and IRIS Corporation Berhad company to formalise the necessary requirements of the e-passport and border control and management systems. 

The officers were also given opportunities to visit the Smart City Technology Room of IRIS Corporation Berhad to witness the latest e-passport and border control systems. 

Having seeing and learnt from the demonstrations and presentations on the proposed e-passport and border control and management systems, the officers said they were very impressed and commented that such systems and infrastructures is highly recommended for Solomon Islands. 

The Immigration Division acknowledges it is very important for the public to know that the implementation of the new systems would also mean new fees for the e-passport, new processes and business rules. 

For example, the new e-passport system would require the e-passport applicants to be present during the enrolment to take photos, fingerprints and signatures. 

So far, the work on the required facilities physical sites, utilities and infrastructure undertaken in Solomon Islands for the electronic systems already started in April this year and is expected to complete at the end of June 2016. 

The successful implementation of the e-passport and border control and management systems will see the conversion of the current Solomon Islands Machine Readable Passports into electronic passports for Solomon Islands citizens. 

E- Passports technology is expected to ease travelling burdens and reduce waiting time, check-in and arrival check-in procedures by the use of finger print technology.

The use of e-Passports will also improve the controlling and managing of both citizens and non-citizens movements at our national borders.