The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services (DICS) is looking to fully digitise its operation by October 2020 starting with this year’s November by replacing Machine Readable Zone passports currently in use with electronic passports (e-passports).
Immigration Department has been migrating from analogue systems to e-services with the introduction of e-passport set to meet International Civil Aviation Organisation (Icao) requirements to enhance security on passports.
Spokesperson for Immigration, Joseph Chauwa, said with the current setup, people have to process applications and pay relevant fees in person at the Department as new passport applicants and holders will have to pay about K75 000 per normal passport ($100).
All applications and payments are processed using analogue system, which requires that all documents and material be checked by several sub-departments and officials before being finalised.
Chauwa said some EU (European) countries have put a regulation that they will be issuing visas to countries with e-passports only.
The broader migration process has been split into two separate projects: e-visa and e-permit.
Chauwa said the Immigration started rolling out some permit applications online and soon the e-visa will also be rolled out.
He said once they are fully rolled out, applicants should be able to make payments for various fees online.
It is expected that several other government agencies, including local law enforcement, the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Financial Intelligence Unit, will leverage the digital system – specifically in scrutinising applicants for work permits, visitors and business licenses.
Immigration procured a US$35-million contract in 2018 to upgrade the Passport Issuance System (PIS) and Introduction of the Electronic Passport.
Two Trees Investments, a joint venture with Belgian firm ZETES, secured this contract.
Social media has been awash with reports and shared Whatsapp conversation that Two Trees Investment is owned by Zuneth Sattar of Xaviar Limited UK. But when contacted by Nyasa Times, Sattar flatly rejected any link with the company.
“I have no connection whatsoever with Two Trees. My line of business is not e-passport. I know nothing about it, Sattar said.
Immigration spokesman Chauwa also confirmed Sattar not party to Two Trees Investment.
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