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Director of Immigration 4th appearance before Senate Special Select Committee

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The 35th session of the Senate Special Select Committee hearings began this morning. Director of the Immigration Department, Diana Locke made her fourth appearance before the Committee. Among the matters discussed in the morning session was housekeeping at the department. The Committee is also reviewing recommendations made in the Immigration Audit report. One of those recommendations deals with copies of Chinese passports. The Auditor General has recommended that the passports which show biographic data are forwarded to Embassy of Republic of China for verification. Director Locke says she is not sure that would be feasible or even necessary.

 

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration Department

“I don’t know that that would be possible. We would have to make an arrangement with them to get them to agree to that we don’t have diplomatic relations so I am not sure that they would be willing to respond to those requests. I’m not sure either that that would be necessary in the process I’m not sure exactly that was recommended but I’m not sure what purpose would be achieving.”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“Well I believe what the Auditor General is saying is that there have been cases where we’ve had suspect Chinese passports or at least the biographic data page has been suspect and we have already ascertained that we don’t have the necessary expertise to verify so can you see the wisdom from that standpoint.”

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration Department

“Yes that may be a recommendation but I still maintain that it might be difficult to get that done.”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“Because of our lack of diplomatic relations you are saying.”

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration Department

That and other reasons.

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“Would you care to share some of those other reasons?”

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration Department

“It wouldn’t serve any purpose to get into it here.”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“Okay. What is the norm for circumstances like this when one does not have diplomatic relations with a country? Do you know what would be the norm?”

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration Department

It does not mean that you can’t communicate. You can communicate with them it can be done, they would not necessarily have to respond or they don’t have to. I have had occasions where we have written to things in relation to the People’s Republic of China and we’ve just not gotten a response.

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“What is your recommendation then Director to deal with this issue where we have seen passports that we have reason to suspect or some flag is raised; what is your recommendation how do you propose to deal with this issue?”

Diana Locke – Director of Immigration Department

“This is why I think it’s important that we see an original passport not copies. If someone comes to you for a service they should present a copy and an original that way you can look at that passport, you can look at the stamps, if a person travels through two or three countries there is a very good chance that that passport is valid. As I indicated before now with our system we are connected to Interpol so if we have any doubts about anything we can always run a check as another means of checking. On entry your passport will be scanned and checked.”

Mark Lizarraga, Senator

“Well I don’t necessarily agree with you because they’ve passed through other countries means that the passport is valid but I hear what you are saying.”

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