By Joseph Varghese/Staff Reporter
The Nepalese embassy in Qatar will expedite the process of issuing new passports from February or early March by putting in place a new technology, according to a top official at the mission.
He said the number of Nepalese expatriates in Qatar exceeded 400,000 by 2013.
Harihar Kant Poudel, second secretary at the Nepal embassy, said new passports are currently issued four months after the submission of an application.
“This is due to various reasons. The details of each applicant are manually entered and the same is sent to Nepal. Again, in Nepal, it takes a long time to process it,” he added.
At present, the embassy gets around 150 applications for passports per day.
Poudel said the embassy will introduce a new scanning system from next month, which will help speed up the process.
“This will save a large amount of time and applications can be electronically transferred. This will reduce the waiting period by at least two months. So, new applicants will get their passports within two months,” he explained, adding that the Nepalese government has decided to implement the same at all its missions.
The embassy official observed that there are around 100,000 Nepalese in Qatar with handwritten passports.
“We are trying to phase out all handwritten passports at the earliest possible (time) with machine-readable passports as it is a necessity in many parts of the world,” he said, pointing out that there was no chance of issuing passports from Doha in the near future.
The official disclosed that according to the latest figures available, the number of Nepalese expatriates in Qatar has crossed 400,000. “We are collecting the exact figures and, going by the latest figures available, it must be around 400,000. The exact figures will be available in a few weeks’ time,” he added.
Poudel said it would take some more time for the new ambassador to take charge at the mission. He attributed this to the formation of the new government in Nepal. In all probability, it would take minimum 4-6 six months if not longer, he added.