Singapore’s government has been playing a prominent role in the advancement of the nation and its ever-growing startup ecosystem. It has managed to lure multiple corporations and firms to set up their offices, with some of them establishing their Asian head offices in the island city-state.

In order to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the operations managed by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Ministry of Home Affairs announced iris scans of Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs) will be collected. The images will be included in the registration processes for SCs and PRs. The Ministry also stated amendments to Singapore’s National Registration Act (NRA), incorporated in 1965, has been passed in parliament last month to accelerate the process and will take effect on January 1.

The process of scanning iris will be carried out during the IC registration and re-registration process, as well as during passport applications and collection. In the parliamentary speech in November, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee had said,

The collection and verification of iris images is similar to taking a photograph. It is convenient, contactless and non-intrusive and can be completed in seconds.

He also quoted other countries such as Germany and the Netherlands has had implemented the technology since the 2000s. While U.A.E has also made iris scanning compulsory to facilitate immigration clearance for its citizens. He noted fingerprints could wear out as a person aged and appearance could alter over time. Also, poor fingerprint quality had been one of the reasons some travelers faced difficulty using automated clearance gates at immigration checkpoints.

ICA will also be appointing selected SingPost staff as registration officers. They will help take iris images from NRIC holders at selected SingPost outlets, as part of NRIC registration or re-registration.

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