Complaints about capturing of biometrics causing the long ques and flight delays at the OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) have been addressed by the Home Affairs Director-General, Mkuseli Apleni this morning in a media briefing in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
In December 2015, South Africa employed a biometrics capturing system for foreign national travellers entering South Africa’s four international airports. However, under capacity at immigration counters has caused a huge delay in the process. A prioritisation of management of immigration and the movement of persons through the ORTIA has therefore been instructed.
As announced in the media briefing “the average number of travelers cleared per month increased from 668 882 in 2015 to 669 621 in 2016.” Dealing with these growing numbers is an understandable challenge.
The current staff shift system is being managed to deal with the high volume of travellers but 40% of the immigration counters will remain non-operational at peak periods. No further recruitment of human resource capacity is authorised for the near future.
Why Have Biometrics Capturing?
The implementation of the biometrics capturing system to ensure our national security through confirmation of legal immigration and unique identification of each traveler is advancement in processes that allows a relaxation of the immigration regulation, which had initially required persons from visa required countries to appear in person when apply for their visas.
This process includes the doing away of transit visas for people travelling through these ports of entry that have biometric capacity.
A pilot method of linking the movement of a minor to a major on the Movement Control System has been implemented as part of the biometric programme.
The Future of Biometrics Capturing
It is projected that at least six high volume land ports of entry will be ready to help travellers from SADC states by 2016/2017.
The overall aim is to lay a foundation for Trusted Traveller processes with a self-service option on entry.
Read the full statement here
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