We thank Mr Ong Junkai for his letter (ICA must improve screening process for foreigners married to S'poreans; Feb 20).
The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has the responsibility to ensure that only bona fide travellers enter Singapore.
Mr Ong is a Singapore permanent resident. Mrs Ong is a foreigner and does not hold any pass for short-or long-term stay in Singapore.
Mrs Ong arrived at the Changi Airport immigration counter on Feb 15 at about 8.10pm. When queried by ICA officers, she was unable to provide relevant information, including Mr Ong's particulars and contact details.
Mrs Ong said she only had the information in her mobile phone, but added that her phone battery was flat.
Our officers assisted her by providing her with a charger for her mobile phone. She then said she needed Internet connection to retrieve the information. So, the officers escorted her to the Changi Airport Group Information Counter to obtain a Wi-Fi code to access the Internet. The total time Mrs Ong took to charge her phone, connect to the Internet, and retrieve the information, was 40 minutes.
As soon as Mrs Ong had provided the relevant information, the ICA officers acted promptly, including calling Mr Ong to verify the information.
Mrs Ong was granted entry to Singapore shortly after, at 9.30pm.
ICA has thoroughly investigated the incident and is satisfied that our officers had been professional and helpful towards Mrs Ong.
If she had been able to produce her husband's particulars and contact information readily, the time required for processing her entry would have been very much shorter.
We seek travellers' understanding and cooperation as we strive to facilitate immigration clearance without compromising security.
Serene Wong (Ms)
Head, Public & Internal Communications
Corporate Communications Division
Immigration & Checkpoints Authority