TOUGHENS: Immigration Directorate spokesperson Jacob Siminyu. Photo/nbs.com

The Immigration Directorate has intensified the crackdown against illegal immigrants, boosting its officer corps in charge of issuing work permits from 19 to 79.

According to Immigration spokesperson Jacob Siminyu, the increased number will help streamline immigration matters in the country. He also said the process of acquiring a work permit has been eased, with applicants now being able to apply online.

Without giving details, Mr Siminyu also said the number of illegal immigrants arrested and deported had risen. “They come from all over the world,” Mr Siminyu said while appearing on the NBS Morning Breeze talkshow.

He also said that in a bid to streamline their operations, the department had eradicated ‘middlemen’ who previously minted millions getting passports for ‘absentee’ applicants.

“We have done away with middle men. The process of acquiring a passport is more streamlined and hassle free,” Mr Siminyu said, adding: “We’ve eradicated issuing passports to foreigners. Every applicant must appear in person. Whether a child or an adult.”

He also said that as a directorate, the immigration is supposed to facilitate and control immigrants. “It’s not only about controlling,” he said.

Uganda is home to thousands of immigrants including the Indians and Chinese, some of who have been accused of denying Ugandans employment opportunities by engaging in petty trade.