PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea has indefinitely suspended services provided by passport and visa agents amid a visa fraud scandal.
The suspension, effective from today, was announced by immigration and border security minister Petrus Thomas.
The action followed police investigations into a passport and visa service agent and a Chinese national recently charged with bribery.
“All clients will have to lodge their applications directly with the Immigration and Citizenship Authority,” Thomas said.
“There will be no more new applications accepted from visa agents. This indefinite suspension will be in place until a policy regulating registration and monitoring of all agents is developed and put in place.
“This new process will ensure all visa and migration service agents or companies involved in providing migration services are thoroughly screened and go through a registration process,” he said.
“Companies will be held liable, charged and deregistered if they are found to engage in visa fraud or if they defraud clients.
“Priority will be given to local companies to be involved in these services.”
Thomas said “appropriate action will be taken against any Immigration or government officers found to be colluding with visa agents to facilitate fraudulent applications for visas.”