Improve immigration processes at cruise centres

I feel assured that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will explore the use of the best biometric recognition technologies to scan travellers' iris and facial images to speed up the immigration clearance processes at our checkpoints (ICA trials eye scans to boost border security; Aug 6).

This must be efficient enough to clear huge numbers of people in long queues during peak periods at all the checkpoints.

In addition, I am particularly concerned with the slow immigration processing of incoming passengers from cruise ships at our cruise centres.

When more than 1,000 passengers disembark at the same time from a huge cruise ship on a short 24-hour stopover, huge immigration queues are formed.

Such passengers have only a precious few hours to visit the tourists spots in Singapore. Holding them up in long immigration queues is most distressing to them.

If the long queue problem at the cruise centres is not addressed thoroughly, it would reflect poorly on our efficiency.

Perhaps our immigration officers should be sent to New York City to learn how United States immigration officers and top cruise centres clear the passengers on board the cruises - instead of in a terminal building - smoothly and efficiently. We must not lose out on the opportunity to be the best cruise centre in this part of the world.

Tan Kok Tim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2018, with the headline 'Improve immigration processes at cruise centres'. Print Edition | Subscribe