Digital innovation needed for smoother immigration process

When I lived in Singapore with my family for fours years in the 1980s and for another year in 2000, we travelled frequently and found that returning to the Republic at Changi Airport or at the Causeway was always a pleasant experience, with smooth and efficient immigration processes.

Unfortunately, over the past few years, the immigration process has become slow and tedious.

I entered Singapore twice in the last week - at Changi Airport and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.

In both cases, the queues were about an hour long and the surly immigration agents seemed determined to work as slowly as possible.

Surely there are ways to speed up the system. For example, why do travellers returning from Bintan after a short holiday need to have their thumbprints taken?

Why not use the system implemented in European Union countries and dispense with paper documents?

Singapore is one of the most digitised countries in the world and physical forms are from the pre-digital world.

While I may come across as just another foreigner who does not understand Singapore's unique needs for border security, some digital and AI innovation, good operations planning and design and better employee training could go a long way in improving the immigration process into Singapore, which is the first impression everyone has of a new country.

Andrew Inkpen

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