New Border Management system for Immigration Cook Islands

As part of the PACER Plus agreement to optimise border and customs procedures of Pacific Islands countries, Te Kauono Tutara e Te Mana Tiaki (MFAI) welcomes the implementation of ASYPX, the passenger module of ASYCUDA World. Within the framework of the same project, ASYPX is expected to be rolled out to Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Tonga, and Tuvalu who are looking at its implementation in the Cook Islands to ascertain fit for purpose for their own systems.

Immigration Cook Islands is in a transition phase and the current passenger processing module through CUSMOD facilitated by New Zealand Customs will be decommissioned on 31 July 2022. “It is timely to be able to roll-out the new passenger processing system for the Air and Sea ports and the enhancements we can expect are in relation to capturing data, reporting and monitoring of travel movements in and out of the Cook Islands as well as process applications online linking the Border system to the visa and permit approval process” said Principal Immigration Officer, Kairangi Samuela. “Our goal has been to have an Immigration visa and permit system that reduces paperwork and streamlines processing and approvals she explained which will be welcome news for Employers of International workers in the Cook Islands”.

The first phase will see ASYPX introduced at the Rarotonga International Airport, with further roll-out to the Maritime border. The second phase will be the implementation of the visa and permit system offering automated application processing via an online portal on the MFAI website. “Training and use of this new system will be provided to stakeholders once we have confirmed and tested security and risk aspects of the process” Samuela said.

UNCTAD technical expertise has been provided by Mr Saeid Yarandi and Ms Patricia Havan for both ASYPX is a bespoke module that is designed and developed with Immigration Cook Islands to not only enhance the facilitation of legitimate travellers, but also to manage risk. With the passing of the Cook Islands Immigration Act 2021, a full suite of regulations, policies and SOP’s, as well as the launch of an improved automated border management system combining passenger and application processing, a 5-year action plan is coming to fruition.

Mr Yarandi advised that the systems which have been enhanced for the Cook Islands will promote accurate information which MFAI will be able to share with necessary domestic and international agencies in a timely manner. "This will bring the Cook Islands abreast with government agencies abroad".

This module is implemented by the government of the Cook Islands, in the context of the PACER plus agreement, with technical assistance from UNCTAD and funding from New Zealand.