The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services is set to roll out electronic borders (e-borders) to curb cases of illegal immigrants.
Chief Immigration officer Masauko Medi said in an interview yesterday the e-border system would be effected by March 2019.
The department has the electronic system installed on a pilot phase at the Immigration headquarters, Chileka and Kamuzu international airports currently.
During the interview, Medi said in the meantime, the department has already signed a contract with Techno Brain on the system and that some officers from the department would soon go on a study tour of the system in one African country and another outside Africa to be acquainted to the system.
He said: “By January, we will be requesting all those without permits to present themselves and we will be calling nationality by nationality. This will help in getting everybody on our database.
“The best capacity is for us to operate as treasury like what the MRA [Malawi Revenue Authority] does and we have requested government on that because for example, in a month I can estimate we collect about K1.5 billion and it will be easy for us to operate.”
Besides strengthening the country’s borders, Medi also said the e-system will easily facilitate the payment of visa and passport fees which has been a challenge for the country’s embassies.
Medi said there would be an account directly linked to the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) where all the fees would be deposited into, thereby simplifying the whole collection process.
In August, it was reported that the country’s embassies failed to remit K357 million in passport and visa fees collected in the 2016/17 financial year with government conceding that there is no system of remitting the funds back to the country.
A report from the Auditor General for the 2016/17 year said the Immigration Department issued visa books to embassies worth K300.9 million, but there were no records to show that the money collected was accounted for.