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The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) is to provide foreigners resident and working in Ghana with biometric foreign resident cards to enhance the enforcement activities of the service.
The card, which will be introduce after the issuance to the national identification cards, will be activity-specific, indicating where a foreigner is working, the duration of his or her stay and validity, to facilitate routine inspections.
The cards will replace the work permit endorsements currently made in passport.
The Director-General of the GIS, Ms Elizabeth Adjei, told the Daily Graphic that the introduction of the cards was in line with the review of Ghana's work permit policy.
She said a lot of preparatory wok had been done on the introduction of the cards since 2007 and indicated that several companies had been invited to make assessments and proposals on the cards.
Under the review , she said, stiff restrictions had been introduced to ensure that non-citizens did not take up jobs for which there were skill availability in the country.
According to her, companies were also being encourage to set up training institutions to training institutions to train local staff on skills that were in short supply, instead of streaming in foreign skill.
Ms Adjei said it had been extremely difficult monitoring foreigners living in Ghana illegally because of the manual process involved in questioning them.
She, however, she said when the biometric foreign resident cards were introduced, enforcement officers of the GIS would only swipe the card in their mobile kits.
"when the national ID exercise is competed, our work will be enhanced. It will help us to easily identify Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians alike, as well as distinguish legal from non-legal foreigners," she said..
Ms Adjei said if the country could not identify its own citizens, it would be difficult to identify non citizens, particularly citizens of the West African sub-region.
Responding to a question on concerns over the influx of foreigners into the country, some of whom were perpetrating serious crimes, Ms Adjei said the influx of foreigners into other countries, especially regional groupings, was a common problem associated with regional integration.
She said some countries in the European Union and Latin America were facing similar problems. According to her, it was easier to prevent entry than to look for people when they had already entered.
"In the current situation where we have an integrated sub-region, it is difficult to impose pre-entry restrictions on people who do not require visas to enter territories," she said.
She said the Border Patrol Unit (BPU) of the GIS had since its inception done a lot of work to intercept people coming into the country illegally.
She cited, for instance, the way the BPU had also successfully repelled several refugees from the Central African region who swarmed the country in 2006.
Ms Adjei said the unit had also collaborated with other security agencies at the border points and at unapproved route to intercept smuggled goods and also prevent ECOWAS nationals from entering Ghana with fake travel documents
(DAILY GRAPHIC, TUESDAY, JANUARY 20,2009) BACK TO MAIN ||>>>