Thursday, December 6, 2012

No stamping all China passports

Manila, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) clarified yesterday that its directive not to stamp Chinese passports applies to both old and new passports and not just on its new E-passport.

“My memorandum to our immigration officers is clear. We will not stamp all Chinese passports. It does not matter if the passport is old and new,” BI Commissioner Ricardo A. David Jr. declared.
The BI chief issued the clarification following erroneous and conflicting reports in the media suggesting that the new visa policy applies only to Chinese E-passports bearing the map of the disputed islands in the South China Sea. (Jun Ramirez)

New visa policy applies to old, new Chinese passports

MANILA, Philippines - The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Thursday said its directive refusing to stamp Chinese passports applies to both old and new passports of the People’s Republic of China.

"My memorandum to our immigration officers is clear. We will not stamp All Chinese Passports. It does not matter if the passport is old and new,” BI Commissioner Ricardo David Jr. said in a statement.

David issued the clarification following reports  that the new visa policy applies only to Chinese e-passports bearing the map of the disputed islands in the South China Sea.

The BI chief said the government decided to uniformly implement the new policy  to avoid confusion in the country’s foreign service and immigration offices.

In the case of China ’s new e-passport, the immigration officer shall instead place the BI stamp on the backpage of the visa application form provided by the Philippine consulate in China and which bears the DFA-issued visa.
Nation ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

However, if a Chinese passenger presents an old PROC passport, the immigration officer shall have the passport page bearing the DFA-issued visa photocopied and on it shall the BI stamp be placed.

The BI started implementing the new policy Monday after the DFA issued a foreign service circular on the new visa procedure for Chinese nationals wishing to visit the Philippines.

David’s memorandum to BI offices instructs them to “refrain from placing any immigration stamps on PROC passports.”

The directive applies to all BI stamps, including arrival, departure, conversion, downgrading, and extension stamps, the BI chief said.

The DFA has objected to China ’s move to include the disputed islands’ map on its new passport, saying it is a violation of international law.

Manila and Beijing are locked in a dispute over a number territories in the resource-rich South China Sea.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Two arrested for trying to get fake passport

Two persons were arrested from near the passport office here for trying to get a fake passport, a police officer said.

Acting on a tip-off, the police nabbed Shabul and Nurul Hassan while they were applying for passport, SP (city) Jayantkant said.

Shabul, a native of Siwan district was trying to get a passport issued in the name of Hassan by discribing him as a son, he said.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Scottish government blocks free education for Irish passport holders from Northern Ireland

Scottish government blocks free education for Irish passport holders from Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland students with an Irish passport will no longer be able to avoid paying fees at Scottish universities.

The Scottish government is to introduce legislation from 2013/14 to close the loophole that allowed people from Northern Ireland, England and Wales with Irish passports to study for free.

Scottish students do not have to pay tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year if they study in Scotland.

Under European law, European Union students from outside the UK must be treated the same way as local students, meaning they are exempt from fees.

Until now that has meant that students from the rest of the UK with Irish passports were able to be classed as EU students when they applied for a place at one of Scotland’s 18 universities.

This loophole has led to speculation that thousands of applicants from Northern Ireland could use their rights to Irish citizenship to avoid paying fees, as everyone born in Northern Ireland is eligible for an Irish passport.

However, under the new legislation, dual nationality university applicants from the rest of the UK will be required to prove that they have lived in another EU member state for at least three months before qualifying to have their tuition fees paid.

The Scottish Government said the move was designed to ensure a consistent approach across all universities and insisted there was little evidence to suggest the loophole was being exploited.

Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “Since the recent changes to the tuition fees system there is little or no evidence of changes in the make-up of applicants. This legislation will require dual nationality students to provide evidence that they have previously exercised their right of residence elsewhere and will prevent the use of dual nationality solely to benefit from free tuition.”

However, Basil McCrea MLA criticised the legality of the Scottish Government’s decision.

Mr McCrea said: “It is discriminatory and unjust that Scottish universities offer different fees to other parts of the UK and Europe. Whether it is lawful or not is another matter.

“It is not up to the Scottish Parliament to decide on what nationality an individual is, it is up to that individual, protected in EU law. It is also a condition of the Good Friday Agreement that someone from Northern Ireland can class themselves as Irish if they desire. I expect this part of decision to be challenged also.”

Professor Pete Downes, convener of Universities Scotland, said: “Universities very much welcome this action from the Scottish Government. It's important that students have access to consistent information on fees and financial support. Despite much speculation, Scotland's universities have not seen a large influx of applicants from Northern Ireland looking to exploit the loophole.”

Story so far

Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) for the 2012/13 academic year show that of the 19,148 people from Northern Ireland who applied for a university place by the end of June, 5,251 applied to a Scottish university — more than one in four. It was estimated 25% of them, around 1,300, had Irish passports. If they were all accepted to Scottish universities that would cost the Scottish Government £40m per year.

Read more:

Doctor's passport confirms he went to Iran

Doctor's passport confirms he went to Iran

BANGALORE: Investigation into the two recently busted terror modules confirmed that two of the 14 arrested suspects had indeed taken beyond the country's shores their search for logistics support for their plans.

Sources privy to the investigation said the passport of Hubli-based Dr Zafar Iqbal Sholapur, 26, one of the 14 suspects, proves he landed in Iran in Dec. 2011. This document was recently recovered from his Hubli residence.

Another arrested suspect, Abdul Hakim Jamadar, 25, had in his voluntary statement admitted that he and Dr Sholapur had taken an Al Arabia flight from Bangalore to Tehran on Dec. 11, 2011. The duo later crossed the Iran-Pakistan border in a truck and landed in Godhwar town.

"Dr Sholapur's passport clearly shows that the doctor stayed for over a month in Iran. According to Jamadar's voluntary statement, he and the doctor stayed for eight days in Iran before moving to Pakistan. We're trying to gather further evidence of their stay in Iran and later movement to Pakistan," investigating police officers said.

Families of both Jamadar and Dr Sholapur claim they didn't have any knowledge of the Iran visit. Jamadar's father, Abdul Sattar, told TOI his son had gone to Kuwait in search of a job. "He returned home due to his deteriorating health," he said.

However, the doctor's father, assistant conservator of forests Sheikh Rahmat Sholapur said he had no knowledge of his son's foreign tour. At an earlier press meet, Sholapur Sr had strongly refuted allegations his son had gone to Iran and Pakistan.

Sheik Rahmat told TOI on Friday, "I never knew my son even had a passport. But the minute I found it in his wardrobe at home, I handed it over to the police," he said.

Accused to be taken to Maharashtra, AP

Police sources said some of the 14 terror suspects will be taken to Hyderabad and Maharashtra for interrogation. "We have to gather more evidence and take a few more suspects to custody," they added.

Monday, September 10, 2012

MyKad, passport data at risk

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 11, 2012):Outsourcing the production of MyKads and passports to another country could affect the country's security if there is a leakage of confidential information, a daily publication reported yesterday.
Additionally, a weak security system may further expose MyKad and passport holders involved, resulting in the possibility of the information being abused by irresponsible people.
Utusan Malaysia said the tender for making the smartcards since the start of this year was awarded to a foreign company which is unable to implement several of the security features in the MyKads and passports of Malaysian citizens.
Quoting an unnamed source, the daily reported that the Chip Implementation System, allegedly developed from China, does not have a complete suite of security applications such as the automated teller machine, PKI and MEPS applications, which shows the government's failure in meeting its transformation agenda, the source claimed.
"Each of these applications has its own safety features. If there are no such features in the application, surely the data can be easily accessed by irresponsible parties.
"In fact, the raw material used comes from unknown suppliers. This is a highly risky situation as indirectly, the country's secrets are exposed to foreigners," the source told the daily.
On Saturday, Utusan revealed that the government might face some RM300 million in losses in five years when a company tasked to produce the MyKad beginning this year was suspected of using a data system which does not meet the required specifications.
The company, which is reportedly under investigation, was said to be capable of providing only five out of eight safety features in the Malaysian MyKad and passport.
The source said the system should be controlled by the National Registration Department, the only authority with jurisdiction over the registration records of all Malaysians.
"However, the public is concerned that the data contained in MyKad is allegedly easy to change using tools and technology that can be bought from computer stores.
"This weakness can result in a stolen MyKad becoming easy to be sold," the source claimed.
In this regard, the source suggested for the government to act immediately to solve the problem such as by providing the facility to check the validity status of a MyKad online.

Passport office misspells name

I AM a law graduate from a university in London and intend to become a barrister. I am fortunate enough to be admitted to the Lincolns Inn and my classes are to commence from Sept 28.
In order to get the visa, I was issued a passport by the regional passport office in Peshawar with a spelling mistake in my name.
Actually, the person in charge has misspelled my name by missing the first A in Muhammad. Now my legal name and the name on my passport do not match.
It has caused me a great trouble and I am running from pillar to post to fix the matter.
I wonder how the passport office staff can misspell the name Muhammad. Now with a few days in hand, I have applied for a fresh urgent passport which would be issued to me within seven days. Once I get the passport, I will be intimating my law school to issue me my CAS letter, on the basis of which I would be issued a visa by the British high commission.
The CAS letter, which has the student’s passport number, is a pre-requisite for visa application. Furthermore, the visa application process itself takes about three weeks to complete under normal circumstances.
The entire procedure has become too much cumbersome for me. If I do not get my fresh passport and on the basis of that passport my CAS letter and visa, I may not be able to join the upcoming session for which I have already paid my fee.
In short, the misspelling of my name may cost me my career, or at least one precious year. I have received an email from my school, stating that I should attend the institute for my formal registration on Sept 13, which is by no means possible.
The matter is further exacerbated by the fact that no one is there in the department to apologise for such a serious mistake or at least admit the fault. I am at a loss of words to express my feelings for such negligent officers in the passport and immigration department.
They should have taken greater care and caution when it comes to the name of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Even the common sense demands that.