THE Immigration department is working on introducing machine-generated visas to minimise errors after successfully launching online e-visa application as a way of improving facilitation of entry into the country.
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
The revelations were made by Immigration principal director, Clemence Masango in Victoria Falls on the sidelines of the commissioning of Shearwater Explorers Village.
Masango said they successfully implemented the e-visa last week to reduce queues and waiting period.
“We have put the online visa application system which allows applicants, mainly those who are at group C of our visa regime, to apply online. Previously they will go to our embassies, but then we don’t have embassies in each and every country and you would imagine what was happening. Then as further improvement on that, we have said let us also enable the same applicants to pay the fees online,” he said.
Masango said currently the online application and port payment does not cover visitors from the East as they did not use the same Mastercard and Visa model.
“Our system at the moment accepts only Visa and Mastercard, but so what we have done is, for those affected nationalities, they will continue to apply online then pay on arrival. We are in talks with the banks that such cards can be accepted.
“We are also intending to roll out the machine generating visa at the moment the officer does it manually and stamp the passport but when we go machine generated, the machine will do that to minimise human error. The machine will capture your biodata from the passport, print it in less than 30 seconds onto visa sticker and when we they scan the passport the machine generates the sticker and pastes without human finger doing that.”
Masango said they wanted to do away with stickers, and when the passport is scanned at port of entry the machine will read the information on the passport and confirm its authenticity.
He said they were also engaging government on reduction of visa fees
“Yes we need to get revenue, but will we not be contradicting ourselves by doing business expensive. But personally and I am on record saying that I am for total abolition of visas, why because the embassies should be on strengthening our systems, our structures and our personnel for facilitation of entry and after entry that way we will encourage more inflow of tourism in the country.
“Remember what countries benefit from is mostly what they spend when they come here and I ask: What is $30 that we are collecting from them? If we can incentivise them more by removing visas, then we will see an upsurge in arrivals.