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Brunei immigration dept beefs up enforcement
Publication Date : 10-01-2014
Employers of foreign nationals and the immigrants themselves are reminded of their obligation to comply with the Sultanate’s immigration rules and laws, a senior chief immigration officer said yesterday.
Haji Md Yante Hussaine Hj Ismail, head of the Law Enforcement Section under the Immigration and National Registration Department, yesterday said that the department continuously monitors the matter and will not hesitate to take any legal action against any person who has been found in violation of the law.
According Haji Md Yante, the reminder was necessary as the department has been aware of irresponsible and errant behaviour of some employers who were also guarantors to foreign nationals, including failure to pay wages and provide shelter.
A few employers also continue to hire foreign nationals who only hold visitor passes, as well as workers who are legally guaranteed under other employers.
Employers or any person found employing foreigners without valid work permits may find themselves subjected to the law, as they are violating the nation’s rules and regulations, Hj Md Yante reiterated.
“The department would like to remind foreign citizens who come to this country that it is their duty to comply with all applicable laws and regulations that have been established under Chapter 17 of the Immigration Act, especially those related to permission to stay in this country legally.
“Offences under the Passports Act (Chapter 146), which include ‘not abusing or using someone else’s passport to enter and exit from the country’ are very serious crimes,” he added.
It is essential to guarantee that foreign nationals enter the country legally, to ensure that the required medical screenings are conducted, or can be guaranteed of having no past records of criminal convictions, Hj Md Yante explained.
The senior chief immigration officer further said the department was constantly working with other enforcement agencies in the nation, as well as sharing information with the agencies of neighbouring Asean countries, in an effort to combat immigration-related crime such as human trafficking.
Based on statistics collected by the department, Hj Md Yante reported that a total of 107 multi-offence cases related to the Immigration and Passport Acts were brought to court in 2013, compared to 85 cases in 2012.
Meanwhile, the department imposed compound fines on 1,144 people (amounting to US$489,200) in 2013, compared to 1,059 people in 2012 (which amounted to US$427,500).
“The increase in compound cases was due to the increased efficiency of the division in the enforcement of immigration laws in 2013, compared to the previous year.
“It is also due largely to the information received from the immigration officers at the country’s border control posts,” Hj Md Yante said.
According to the figures, the past year recorded 468 cases of overstaying (under Section 15(1) of the Immigration Act): 402 of which were fined, and 66 of which were charged.
Of the latter, 44 were found guilty and convicted in court for overstaying in the country for more than 90 days.
This year, the Law Enforcement Section started enforcing operations dubbed “Operasi Kikis JIPK”, in addition to their already existing operations: “Operasi Sergah” and “Operasi Bersepadu”.
Four “Operasi Kikis” have been carried out, since the start of January.
The total recorded number of foreign citizens who entered and left Brunei from 2011 to 2013 by immigration control posts exceeded six million.