Print Edition - 2015-01-24 | Nation
Govt teams to aid process in Gulf, Malaysia
- MRP distribution
Jan 23, 2015-
The government is sending separate teams to Gulf countries and Malaysia to collect passport forms and inform Nepali migrants workers to replace their hand-written passports with the Machine Readable Passport (MRP) by May end.
Nepal has committed to the International Civil Aviation Organisation that it will replace the hand-written passports with MRPs within September this year. However, according to the international practice, a six-month valid passport can only secure the visa. Therefore, the Department of Passport has been urging Nepalis living abroad to replace the hand-written passports as soon as possible to meet the deadline and avoid visa related difficulties.
Lok Bahadur Thapa, director general of the department, said they are sending separate teams to Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia to sensitise the issue and collect passport firms in the first phase. “Once we complete one phase, then we will dispatch the next one,” he said.
Over one million Nepalis in Gulf countries and Malaysia are estimated to be possessing hand-written passports. Thapa said teams will reach out to the scattered Nepali migrant community, inform about the urgency of the matter and collect passport forms. These teams will work in collaboration with Nepali embassies, the Department of Foreign Employment, Non-resident Nepalis and local volunteers and use local and social media to sensitise the community.
Meanwhile, several fast-track approaches have been adopted of late to help service seekers acquire passport. “Earlier, we used to receive at least 4,000 passport applications per day.
Now the number has decreased by half,” Thapa said. Currently, people who apply for passport from districts will receive it within 15 days, while they had to for over a month in the past.
The department receives passport applications from districts, its own Kathmandu office and Nepali missions aboard. The fees applying these passports are varied. “Since we have improved the passport distribution system, many service seekers are applying from their concerned district,” Thapa said. Similarly, status of passport application, submitted to a Nepali mission, can be also tracked trough the Internet.
Published: 24-01-2015 09:16