Nepali migrants in the United Kingdom are left frustrated for having to wait nine months to acquire a machine readable passport (MRP) after submitting an application to the Nepali embassy in London.
Devi Pun living in Maidenhead near Reading shared her experiences while applying for an MRP. She complained of having to through several ordeals in between the process– visit the embassy four times and make several phone calls.
“I had to go through hard time while applying for an MRP,” she lamented.
Like Pun, many MRP seekers have to wait for several months and go through similar difficulties before getting their hands on the MRP. And for those who need their visas extended immediately, the time-consuming process to acquire MRPs has hit them hard.
Acting Nepali ambassador to UK Tej Bahadur Chhetri blames lack of human resources and technical glitches for the lengthy process.
“There are not enough staffs to deal with around 100,000 Nepali population in UK. More than 100 applications seeking MRPs are registered at the office daily,” he said.
“ Apart from that, we receive more than 100 emails, 200 phone calls and at least two delegations on a daily basis, making it even more difficult for the officers.”
As the deadline to replace handwritten passports with MRPs-November 24, 2015-is fast approaching, there is a significant rise in the number of people in the UK visiting the embassy to acquire MRPs, the embassy noted. The embassy issued around 25,000 MRPs so far and that an estimated 40,000 more are in process.
In view of the looming deadline, the embassy has devised a special plan to deliver fast and reliable service. The plan is at the Foreign Affairs ministry for approval, the embassy said.
The plan asks for additional staffs at the embassy and has also requested for a salary raise for the existing officers in order to motivate them. The technical aspect should be strengthened and an conducive environment should be created for those acquiring MRPs through fast-track by paying additional fees, the plan reads.
According to the acting ambassador, the issue is being taken up by a five-member delegation of the General Administration ministry, Finance ministry and Labour ministry and led by a joint secretary of the MoFA. The delegation had recently reached the UK to inquire about the status of human resources at the embassy and inspected the services being delivered among others.
The embassy is said to have initiated a door to door campaign to collect MRP applications.