By Richard Sultan
South Sudan has put on hold a door to door search for undocumented foreigners and demanded officials engage them to willingly renew their visas.
The Director General for South Sudan Passports and Immigration Department, Lt. Gen. Atem Marol Biar has also warned zonal police commanders in Juba about harassing and extorting money from undocumented foreigners under the disguise of documenting them.
He was referring to an operation that has seen security officials looking for foreigners in the resident areas, business centers and on the streets.
“The reason we codenamed the operation a silent search is because we wanted it done in a humble way without disorganizing their livelihood,” Biar told reporters in Juba yesterday.
“Our sole purpose is to issue them documentation in case they don’t have but not to criminalize them,” he said.
“We should not search for foreigners like we are chasing them away from South Sudan because most of them are our brothers from the East African Community.”
He announced a change in approach to restore sanity and trust in the immigration officials by stopping the door to door and shop to shop search for foreigners.
“All zonal immigration chiefs should engage the community associations of foreigners in the country and show them where to report for documentation regardless of the status of their visas and assure them of utmost cooperation,” Biar said.
Officials found violating the rights of foreigners will be dealt with by the highlevel committee on the documentation.
Relatedly, Biar announced that nationality cards and diplomatic passports are available for issue and that regular passports will be available by mid-September.