ICA must improve screening process for foreigners married to S'poreans

There needs to be a better process for the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) to screen people, especially foreigners with a local spouse.

My wife, whose flight landed at about 8pm on the eve of Chinese New Year at Changi Airport Terminal 3, was held for 1-1/2 hours and had to miss our Chinese New Year reunion dinner as a result.

Showing proof that she held a full-time professional job in the education sector did not help either.

It should not take long for ICA officers to match a person's passport details with their spouse's details via the Registry of Marriages website.

Taking more than an hour to verify this hints at problems with the sharingof information between government agencies.

Also, public officers should extend basic courtesy and respect towards people being questioned.

Using a condescending toneduring an interrogation gives visitors a bad impression of Singapore.

There are currently many issues facing foreign spouses with regard to long-term residency.

Even applying for social visits for less than a week is becoming an issue.

I understand that the tighter immigration checks may be a result of the recent marriage scams, but that does not excuse the lack of courtesy towards people being held for questioning and verification.

Ong Junkai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2018, with the headline 'ICA must improve screening process for foreigners married to S'poreans'. Subscribe