Minister of Immigration Senator Munditenens Tresplet announced oon.5th February the appointment of a new Deputy Minister of Immigration, S:reu Bradley Higgs. The announcement has come after some concerns were expressed by opposition MZs over the effectiveness of the Immigration Bureau following recent incidents.
As noted by ETT on Twitter, S:reu Higgs became a citizen only in January of this year. When asked to comment on the appointment of a new citizen to a potentially sensitive post, Senator Tresplet explained that S:reu Higgs had expressed interest in trying to improve the technology behind the immigration application system. As the government was near the end of its term and the Deputy Ministry was vacant, Senator Tresplet thought it would be useful for S:reu Higg’s research to see the system in action directly. He also stated that while he acts on every request personally “I could use some help”.
The Minister emphasised however that “any problem applications or prospectives are handled by me personally, and all Clause 5 terminations are also handled by me personally.” Indeed “Clause 5”, a reference to El Lexhatx E.5, was actually used in connection with a problematic application in recent weeks.
A prospective citizen, whom we will refer to as “J” to preserve the confidentiality of the immigration process, gave a number of troubling responses to enquiries about his background and professional life, leading to open scepticism among commentators about the veracity of his claims.
It later transpired that J had had his application for citizenship terminated under Clause 5 by the then Minister Baron Hooligan in 2012, following inappropriate communication with certain citizens. Under the provisions of El Lexhatx, once E.5 is invoked, the applicant is prohibited from applying again for citizenship.
Senator Tresplet therefore decided on 1st February to apply the precedent established by Baron Hooligan and terminate the second application. He explained that he was not aware of the first application by J when granting him access to the Immigration forum.
The J termination was one of a number incidents brought to the attention of the government in recent weeks.
On 23rd January, a terpelaziun was submitted by RUMP leader Sir Alexandreu Davinescu requesting information about a complaint he had received from an applicant, who had not received a response to his request, made via the web-based immigration form some time before. The government confirmed that there had indeed been technical problems with the forum, leading to delay in receiving applications, but that these had now been resolved.
On 5th February, ModRad Senator Magniloqueu Épiqeu da Lhiun also submitted a terpelaziun, inquiring as to why a Wittenberg user, apparently a prospective citizen, had not been presented to the nation as required under the immigration law. After investigation it transpired in this case the applicant had indeed been presented, in November 2015, but had not immediately used his new access, and appears to have subsequently changed his forum display name.
The Minister later took to the Shoutbox to reassure the public that the Ministry always sends a guide on how to access Wittenberg as well as an explanation of Witt posting etiquette to each new user. Both MZs who submitted questions expressed their satisgaction with the responses received, with Senator da Lhiun encouraging the Minister to “keep up the good work”.