NIA to bolster security after inclusion into VWP: official
October 3, 2012, 12:06 am TWN
TAIPEI--The National Immigration Agency (NIA) said yesterday it will step up its border security measures and anti-terrorism cooperation with other countries after Taiwan's inclusion in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Beginning next year, the agency will set up security systems at Taiwan's airports and seaports that collect and match fingerprints and take photos of foreign passengers, said Hsieh Li-kung, director-general of the agency.
The systems serve to prevent passengers from using fake passports to evade immigration entry and exit checks, Hsieh said in a statement.
The agency said it will also host an international conference on border management on Nov. 15 to step up border security and anti-smuggling cooperation with foreign embassies, academic institutes and airline companies.
Hsieh said his agency is "prepared" to meet the border security standards required by the U.S. VWP.
The United States is expected to announce Taiwan's membership in the program Tuesday morning U.S. time. Taiwan has pushed to gain admission for three years and was formally announced as a candidate for the program in late December 2011.
Hsieh said his agency has already established an anti-terrorism center at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the country's main international gateway, that is able to monitor passengers in real time at Taiwan's airports and seaports.
To improve Taiwan's border security control, as required by the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, the agency said it also launched a system in July, 2011, that allows immigration officers to track potentially dangerous travelers, such as wanted criminals, drug smugglers and terrorists, after check-in.
Another step taken was to introduce an advanced passenger-processing system at airports on a trial basis in June.
The system allows airlines to access real-time information about passengers to prevent the issuing of boarding passes to suspicious passengers, it added.
Shih Ming-der, director of immigration information at the agency, said the United States has sent officials to Taiwan several times in recent years to review Taiwan's border security measures.
Taiwan currently has visa-free entry or landing visa agreements with 128 nations or regions.