The new amendment to the Ethiopian Immigration Proclamation: FDRE Immigration and Citizenship Service to Gain New Powers

In a bold move to enhance national security and streamline immigration enforcement, a significant amendment to the Proclamation governing the Office of Immigration and Citizenship Service has been proposed. The new amendment to the Ethiopian Immigration Proclamation dramatically shifts the legal landscape, granting the Director General unprecedented authority to prevent individuals from leaving Ethiopia without a court order. By expanding administrative powers and introducing new penalties for illegal activities, the amendment aims to address pressing security concerns and improve regulatory efficiency. In this article, we look into the details of the amendment, its implications, and what it means for the future of immigration and naturalization services in Ethiopia.

In a significant legal development, a major amendment to the Proclamation concerning the authority of the Office of Immigration and Citizenship Service has been submitted. This amendment dramatically changes the existing legal framework surrounding the ability of individuals to leave Ethiopia and the administrative powers of the Immigration and Naturalization Services. In this blog, we explore the implications of this amendment, compare it to the existing law, and discuss its potential impact on national interests and security.

Understanding the Amendment

The recent amendment to the Proclamation grants the Director General of the Office of Immigration and Citizenship Service the authority to prevent anyone from leaving the country. This power can be exercised based on information from security services, law enforcement, or information obtained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s itself. The Director General must believe that allowing the individual to leave would cause irreparable harm to national interests and security.

What Does the Existing Law Say?

Under the current law, a person can only be banned from leaving Ethiopia if a court order is issued. This means that judicial oversight is required to prevent an individual from departing the country, ensuring checks and balances within the legal system.

Key Changes Introduced by the Amendment

Expanded Authority

The Director General of Immigration and Citizenship Service now will gain unilateral authority to block individuals from leaving the country without needing a court order. This is a significant expansion of power, shifting some exclusive jurisdiction from the judiciary to the administrative body of the Immigration and Naturalization Services.

Basis for Decision

Decisions to ban departures can be made based on information from security services, law enforcement, or the Immigration and Citizenship Service itself. The Director General must have a clear and serious belief that the individual poses a threat to national interests and security.

Administrative Penalties

The amendment introduces administrative penalties for foreigners residing illegally and engaging in illegal activities. The Office of the Immigration and Citizenship Service is authorized to impose these penalties as per regulations issued by the Council of Ministers.

Justification for the Amendment

The amendment aims to address the limitations of the current decree, which requires a court order to restrain individuals from leaving the country. The existing law has been deemed insufficient in preventing those who pose a threat to national security from escaping accountability. The amendment seeks to mitigate significant damage to national interests by allowing the Immigration and Citizenship Service to act swiftly and decisively.

Potential Impact

National Security

By granting the Director General the authority to prevent departures based on security concerns, the amendment aims to enhance national security measures.

Judicial Oversight

The shift from judicial oversight to administrative authority raises concerns about potential abuse of power and the erosion of judicial checks and balances.

Administrative Efficiency

The ability to impose administrative penalties on foreigners engaging in illegal activities is intended to streamline enforcement and ensure compliance with immigration laws.

Conclusion

The amendment to the Proclamation represents a significant shift in the authority of the Office of Immigration and Naturalization Services, granting it broader powers to prevent individuals from leaving the country and impose administrative penalties. While aimed at enhancing national security and administrative efficiency, the amendment also raises important questions about the balance between administrative power and judicial oversight. Thus, it is crucial to monitor the implementation of this amendment to ensure that it serves its intended purpose without infringing on individual rights.

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