Immigration Dept. requests for more manpower to meet pent-up demand

Saturday, 25 June 2022 00:35 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Ever-increasing capacity exhausts existing staff on two work shifts 
  • Issues 40,370 passports in the first 15 days, 27% up just within 5 days 

By Charumini de Silva

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has requested the Public Administration Home Affairs, Provincial Councils, and Local Government Ministry to extend more manpower to meet the pent-up demand.

The new request was made despite the recently introduced two separate work shifts in place. The Department staff begins the first shift from 7.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. and the second shift from 2.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m.

Overcapacity has exhausted the staff, as the Department has stepped up its daily issuance of passports from 2,000 to 3,500 at present. 

Currently, the Department receives over 4,000 appointments daily, but given the shortage of employees around 500 of them are rescheduled to a future date. This has escalated the congestion within the Department. 

Analysts pointed out the Department should operate 24x7 to clear the backlog. Some alleged public wait is over one or two months for their passports. 

The Department of Immigration and Emigration Deputy Controller and Media Spokesperson Piyumi Bandara told the Daily FT that it has issued a total of 40,370 passports during the first 15 days of the month. 

It is a 27% increase within just five days, where the Department issued 31,725 passports as of 10 June 2022. 

The number of passports issued for the entirety of June 2021 was only 14,917.

Before the two work shifts were introduced, on average the Department issued around 15,000 passports for the entire month.

Sri Lanka’s demand for passports has increased significantly over the past two months, as a result of the multiple crises faced by the public. People from around the country visit the Immigration and Emigration Department head office in Battaramulla daily, as it is the only office that issues passports within the same day.