Co-opting detectives to meet rush at airport

Published : 9:00 am  November 15, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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Lack of staff in Imm. Dept. investigative units


By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana   

The Department of Immigration and Emigration is presently struggling with a lack of detectives in their investigative units because most of the officers have been deployed to perform essential duties at the main border control counters of the airport.  

Department sources said the lack of investigative officers had resulted in the routine raids, detection and arrest of foreigners found violating visa conditions, such as overstaying their visas were lagging behind.   
This came into light when the department’s usual countrywide detection and arrests of foreigners violating immigration law has significantly decreased when compared to the first half of the year.   
Sufficient number of investigating officers were manning the special units to carry out investigations
 Sources said, this situation had affected the two main investigative units at the department where their experts had been deployed to carry out routine duties at the arrival and departure counters of the Bandaranaike International Airport.  
The department’s Investigative Unit and the Intelligence Unit, each consisting of 10 to 15 detectives with special skills in countering border violations, has now been reduced to three a unit.   
 It has been found that one of the main reasons for this situation was that several officials going on retirement and the increasing rush at the airport in the wake of the oncoming tourist season and the year-end festivities. 
However, when contacted, the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration, Nihal Ranasinghe admitted to there being a serious shortage of staff for essential services at the department and said remedial measures were being taken.   
He said the growing rush at the airport called for more staff and to meet this requirement additional staff had to be called in from various internal units including the investigating units.   
Mr. Ranasinghe said a sufficient number of investigating officers were manning the special units to carry out investigations.   
He said currently there were vacancies for 45 Management Assistants and seven Administrative Service officials and the request has been forwarded to the Public Administration Ministry.   
“We have conducted an examination to recruit 150 new staff members last month and the results are pending,” Mr. Ranasinghe said.