Shorter queuing time for ‘blue cards’

Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Issue 1242, Page 3
Word count: 496
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Starting next Monday, non-resident labour who go to the new Immigration Department in Pac On to obtain or renew their work permits (known as ‘blue cards’) will likely see their queuing time shortened.

The Public Security Police yesterday gave the media a tour of the MOP 168.68 million premises of the Immigration Department, which will be moved from Avenida da Amizade to Pac On behind the Taipa ferry terminal on February 28.

All immigration-related services concerning local residents, foreign visitors and imported workers will be relocated at the same time.

According to chief of the border control division, Cheang Kam Va, the current office building near the old New Yaohan department store serves an average of 1,100 people daily, with 70 percent of them being non-resident labour.

He said the expanded service points will double the handling capacity to more than 2,000 people a day, and the goal is that each person can be attended to within 30 minutes of queuing.

The four-storey building in the new reclamation area in Pac On has a floor area of nearly 7,000 square metres and a gross construction area of some 39,000 square metres, which is 18 times bigger than that of the current office.

The Non-resident Workers Subdivision houses seven more service counters (totaling 25), and its waiting hall area is expanded three times with a capacity for 300 people.

“The existing subdivision for imported workers is not big enough to meet the demand, especially when recruitment agencies bring in a group of people to obtain their blue cards. Some of them need to wait outside of the subdivision,” Cheang said.

In addition, the subdivisions for local residents and foreigners are four times larger than currently and each will have 14 service counters.

Cheang said the Immigration Department has 375 personnel at present and has already applied to recruit an extra 108 this year to support the operation of the new office building.

The detention centre in the Second PSP Station will also be relocated to the fourth floor of the Pac On office building and can accommodate a total of 188 people in the men’s and women’s blocks.

Cheang said the new detention centre will be able to meet the need, adding that there are 16 detainees at present. A total of 438 people have been detained since the current centre opened in November 2009.

More facilities have been built for detainees including a multi-purpose room, baggage room, medical room, canteen, open activity area as well as separate meeting rooms and shower rooms.

Cheang said a majority of the detainees in the past were foreigners from Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, who needed to stay at the detention centre before they could be repatriated to their country of origin.

Detainees from mainland China could usually be repatriated on the same day, he added.

Buses No. 21, 26, 36 and AP1 can take people to the new premises, where more than 200 public parking spaces are also provided.

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