The government plans to launch a new airport security system next year to step up border security as it is tries to join the US’ visa-waiver program.
The new airport security system, combined with other recent security changes, will help with criminal investigations, as well as make it a more -appealing -candidate for visa-free access to countries such as the US, National Immigration Agency Director-General Hsieh Li-kung (謝立功) said.
An advanced passenger processing system, scheduled to begin testing next year, will allow airlines to access real-time information about passengers to prevent boarding passes being issued to suspicious passengers. The agency will cooperate with domestic airlines over the use of the system before it extends its cooperation to foreign airlines, Hsieh said.
Taiwan is one of the first countries in the Asia-Pacific region to adopt the system, he said, adding that Australia and South Korea have done so already.
In August, the agency began operation of an advanced passenger information system that allows immigration officers to receive passenger information from airlines after check-in procedures are completed so that suspicious travelers can be tracked.
Hsieh said a lot of positive feedback has been received about efforts to tighten border security.
Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) recently said Taiwan is expected to be included in the US’ visa-waiver program candidate list by the end of the year.
Over the past three years, the number of countries or regions that have accepted Taiwan into their visa-waiver programs has risen from 54 to 124.