Govt must continue to be tough on overstayers

Singapore is famed for having one of the most rigorous immigration entry and exit screening processes in the world, but no one is infallible.

The police said the suspect in the Boon Lay pawnshop robbery attempt has been an overstayer since last December (Discovery of backpack helps cops nab suspect; Aug 3).

Overstayers are an inherent security threat, especially if they are unemployed, and dangerous elements are able to exploit their weaknesses.

We must not become complacent in dealing with these threats, and culprits must expect to face the full force of the law. That includes anyone involved in harbouring or employing overstayers.

The Home Team is under intense pressure every day to safeguard the country, but their efforts at risk mitigation have had a positive impact on Singapore's security.

According to figures from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), the number of overstayers arrested fell by 6.7 per cent to 990 last year, from 1,061 in 2016.

However, more must be done to ensure overstayers depart Singapore when their time is up.

Does ICA have enough resources to round up these overstayers?

Intelligence gathering, research and compiling accurate data on visitors to Singapore are key to fighting the terror threat.

Loong Chik Tong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2018, with the headline 'Govt must continue to be tough on overstayers'. Print Edition | Subscribe