On Assignment
Four Things You Should Know About ICA's Annual Statistics Report 2019
Secure borders and fewer immigration-related offences across the board – how ICA kept Singapore safe last year.

Home Team News ICA Stats 01
GRAPHIC: Home Team News

It takes vigilance to keep our borders secure. In recent weeks, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers have risen to the challenge of dealing with COVID-19, working tirelessly to implement tighter screening and border control measures. “They serve as the first line of defence against the spread of such infectious diseases,” shared ICA Commissioner Marvin Sim.

This commitment extends to every aspect of ICA's operations, as demonstrated by its annual statistics for 2019. Here are four things you should know about ICA's good work last year. 

1. There was a decrease in the number of immigration offenders arrested
In 2019, ICA officers carried out more than 100 operations each month against immigration offenders, and the number of such offenders arrested fell by about 13% from 2018.

Inland enforcement is only one part of the equation to keep the immigration offender situation under control. At our checkpoints, ICA employs biometric identification systems to verify travelers' identities and more effectively detect immigration offenders and suspects.

Home Team News ICA Stats 02
GRAPHIC: ICA

2019 also saw a slight fall of 1.8% in the number of harbourers and employers of immigration offenders arrested. Most had failed to exercise due diligence in conducting the necessary checks on a foreigner’s immigration status before employing him/her or renting out their premises.

Home Team News ICA Stats 04
Smugglers busted: Vigilant security checks at our land, air and sea checkpoints ensure that contraband or security-sensitive items don’t enter Singapore. PHOTOS: ICA

2. There was a drop in the number of contraband cases detected
In 2019, the number of contraband cases detected fell by 14.4% from 2018. Despite this drop, the quantity of contraband seized and referred to Singapore Customs rose, and the average duty and GST that would have been evaded by offenders at checkpoints rose by 13.2% per case.

Technology has been crucial in helping ICA officers foil smuggling attempts. At our checkpoints, scanners are used to scan cargo vehicles and buses, allowing officers to detect secret compartments and the contraband hidden within – like duty-unpaid cigarettes – more effectively.

3. Saying “I don’t” – Marriage-of-convenience-related offences have decreased
Since the criminalisation of the act of arranging or entering into a marriage of convenience, the number of such cases has steadily fallen. In 2019, 15 persons were convicted for marriage-of-convenience-related offences, a drop of 53.1% from 2018.

4. What’s gone up – the volume of travellers and cargo
In 2019, over 217 million travellers and 10.6 million cargoes were cleared by ICA – the highest volume over the past five years. This was an increase of about five million travellers and 300,000 more cargoes, from 2018.

Home Team News ICA Stats 03
In 2019, ICA saw the highest volume of travellers and cargoes cleared over the past five years. GRAPHIC: ICA

How has ICA managed this rise in volume?

Technology has been key. Since 2016, 164 automated lanes have been installed at Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints, raising the clearance speed of motorcyclists by 30%. In fact, the proportion of travellers cleared through automated lanes has increased from 49% in 2017 to 55% in 2019.

To provide a seamless, secure and efficient immigration clearance experience for travellers, ICA is also developing its New Clearance Concept, through trials of a contactless immigration clearance system at Tuas Checkpoint and Changi Airport in 2019.

Read ICA's Annual Statistics Report 2019.
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Ashley Tuen
  2. 17 February 2020
Back to top