Nepal’s stock of passports is running low.
According to reports, the government is looking at an administrative crisis that could derail the plans of thousands of migrant workers, students and travellers in coming months.
Officials at the Department of Passports say they only have 750,000 passports in stock, which will barely last six months
Among the three passport categories — diplomatic, official and ordinary — the department will soon be running low on official passports as two local battalions are reportedly gearing up for peacekeeping operations abroad.
The Nepalese government cancelled the global tender for e-passports earlier this month.
“If a credible alternative is not found immediately, there will be a serious crisis because the passport demand will likely surge after Japan and Malaysia open their doors for foreign employment,” an official at the department told The Kathmandu Post.
Japan has announced that it will be accepting nearly 350,000 workers from nine countries, including Nepal, over the next five years, while Malaysia will be taking in around 100,000 workers.
Once these two lucrative destinations open for foreign employment, the present stock will not go beyond May, according to the department’s calculations.
The Department of Passports currently issues around 1,500 passports every day.
Recently, around 42,000 passports were issued through the passport department in Kathmandu in just 23 working days after the United States opened its Diversity Visa lottery, which now requires a passport number. This number does not include the passports that were issued from outside Kathmandu.
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