April 11 2010: The new, long-awaited computerized Immigration Citizen System (ICS), a system that has marked an absolute reinvention of the styles of dispensing some of the important services in the country, was launched on Friday.
Speaking at the official launch, the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Peter Siele, said the Department of Immigration and Citizenship had since January 2008 embarked on an organization-wide computerization project, the Immigration and Citizenship System, with the aim of designing, developing and implementing an integrated computerized system for the various immigration and citizenship business functions, namely the visas, residence permits, permanent residence, citizenship, investigation and repatriation.
Siele revealed that the ICS system will, among others, deal with migration and visas by capturing the process and storing information for various applications for visas and permits and any appeals and will provide data for appropriate personnel.
The new system will also capture the process and store information relating to the investigation of immigration related offences and provide data for all relevant parties. Additionally the system is expected to capture the process and store applications relating to the acquisition and loss of citizenship in accordance with the Citizen act.
Speaking at the occasion, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Nikuv International Projects Ltd (NIP), Ammon Peer, highly praised the new system that they supplied the Immigration Department with.
“The immigration and citizenship system is a very advanced system in which we have incorporated the most recent and best of breed technologies, of hardware and software products,” he said, adding that all of the products and technologies are compliant with international standards.
According to Peer, with the implementation of the new system, the Department of Immigration has entered into a new era of the 21st century operation environment and secured features.
Siele pointed out that, upon completion of the project, they expect the system to interface with other systems, like the passport and border control system. He expressed confidence in the new system.
“ICS is a highly secure system with network security device that monitors network and system activities for malicious or unwanted behavior and can react in real time to block or prevent those activities. Preventing any corruption and fraud to which our systems have been exposed to.
“We expect the completion of the project to help improve service delivery and customer service through, among other ways, the use of facilities such as short message and interactive voice response, which will be in place to give customers feedback about their application progress and outcome,” said Siele.
Siele revealed that the department of immigration intends to roll out the new system to other sites and the first phase, which started on 09 April 2010 is expected to be completed in July 2010 in the areas that include the Department of Immigration and Citizenship-HQ , Sir Seretse Khama Airport, Tlokweng Border, South Central Regional Immigration Office, Serowe Regional and District Immigration Offices, Kasane Regional and District offices, Gaborone District office and two Botswana missions in Harare and Braamfontein.
Siele announced that the new system had begun at headquarters and some selected pilot sites. The second phase will commence in August 2010 and will end in October 2010 and will cover the remaining areas and fifteen Botswana missions abroad.
According to Siele the completion of the first batch of the computerization project marks the processing of permanent residence certificates, residence permits, appeals, exemptions and renewals for visa at the department headquarter as such the department will begin to issue the machine readable electronic documents.
Siele noted that the changes are expected to improve efficiency and transparency and, when all is in place, capturing data during application is expected to take an average of 10 minutes to be issued out once the roll out to the missions has been completed.
Siele, however, said the new application fees are still to be determined. He added that the new changes are expected to be completed by October 2010 and applicants will be notified about the progress of their applications among other things.