The government is building the capacity of the Department of Immigration and Passport (DIP) so that it will be able to deliver all passport and immigration-related services.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal made the statement while speaking as chief guest at the inaugural ceremony of “Passport Seba Saptaho 2018.”
The department is observing the day for the third consecutive year and every official of the department attended the program for the first time.
In his speech, the minister praised the department on completing the sizeable task of making machine readable passports and bio-registration of the Rohingyas properly despite encountering major challenges. He also said that when the International Civil Aviation Organization announced that non-MRP passports would not be allowed, many a person said that the country is going to lose out in the labour market. However, in reality no expatriate had to lose their job due to not having an MRP.
Aside from this, after the Rohingya influx, the department completed the bio-registration of over a million Rohingyas with the help of the army and BGB.
As per the direction of the PM, the country is going to enter into an e-passport era alongside the 118 countries that have started providing the service. Moreover, e-gates would be established at ports of entry with the e-passport carrying a chip that would allow the identification of a person including any criminal record, he added.
The Home Ministry has already arranged a data sharing procedure between RAB, DGFI, SB and other intelligence which will greatly assist the local police in the verification process, Minister Kamal said.
In reply to demands made by officials of the department, the minister said that they have already taken an initiative to build a separate office building for the DIP headquarters along with a well-equipped training centre. A proposal of new organizational framework has already been sent to Public Administration and would soon be approved by the Finance Ministry.
“Every responsibility of passport and immigration will gradually be handed over to the department and the ministry is moving forward keeping this fact in mind,” the minister said.
Earlier, some of the officials drew the attention of the minister and the Secretary of the Security Service Division Farid Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury, asking them to look into the issue directly.
The minister handed over certificates and crests to the 30 best employees and officials for their excellent service over the years of 2016 and 2017.
Director General of DIP Major General Masud Rezwan, president of the program, said the department has issued some two crore (1 crore 96 lakh) MRPs and 6 lakh MRVs to foreigners. The department has also collected revenues of Tk11,000 crore, although the budget for the project was a mere Tk710 crore.
The DG also urged the home minister to ensure more participation from the department in a mission to effectively make the service available for expatriates.
The Special Guest of the program, Secretary Farid said that the situation inside the passport office has changed dramatically and the erstwhile stories of rampant harassment are no longer heard.
The ministry is working to allot plots for the training centre in Purbachal along with a headquarters in Agargaon. The government has signed an MoU with a German company to initiate the implementation of an e-gate, he added.
He further said they are working on how they can manage the verification process to put an end to physical police verification.
When asked after the program, Home Minister corroborated that physical police verification would be unnecessary once the smart card project is completed.