Issuing of passports is likely to be halted completely

The issuing of passports is likely to be halted completely for around one month, Neth News reports.

The Department of Immigration and Emigration is running out of passport stocks.

The Home Affairs Ministry submitted a cabinet paper last November to obtain fresh stocks, but the Finance and Digital Infrastructure Ministry raised objections.

Thereafter, a committee comprising the secretaries of the three ministries was appointed to inquire into the matter, asking it to submit recommendations within a fortnight.

However, the committee held its first meeting only one and a half months later, delaying the entire process.

Later, a cabinet subcommittee decided on May 14 to obtain one million passports, and an estimate is to be sought from the existing supplier.

The related cabinet paper will be submitted tomorrow (26).

Even if approval is given, it will take around five months for a stock to arrive, due to the complex nature of the process.

All-country passports stocks exhausted

The Department has already exhausted its stocks of all-country passports.

As a temporary solution, the passport for Middle Eastern countries is issued with a stamp saying it is valid for all countries.

The Department has a stock of 250,000 Middle East passport, which will be sufficient for four months only.