By EDDIE OSIFELO
AS demand for workforce under the Pacific Labour Scheme in Australia increase to 12,500 for all Pacific Island countries to apply, the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour & Immigration has temporarily halted the fast processing of passports.
This followed high inflow of applicants everyday who paid $1300 to get their passports printed within five working days.
The normal passport application fee is $1000 to print passports within two weeks.
Majority of the applicants are applying for new passports to meet the deadline of Labour Mobility Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work as seasonal workers in Australia’s farms.
Permanent Secretary Riley Mesepitu said the volume of applications received is not possible for Immigration officers to make fast processing on the machine because it may result in overheating.
Mesepitu to make it fair it is good for everyone to pay $1000 because even if you pay $1300, you will not get your passports in time due to overwhelming number received every day.
He said this is a first kind of experience which the Immigration officers try their best to meet demand.
The Immigration department has recorded an influx of applications for passport this year due to the large number of people applying to work in Australia.
Normally, the peak period for the Immigration office was from January and February because students have to travel to study in universities outside the country.
A senior immigration officer said in the first quarter (January to March), there were 1,000 applications.
“In one day, there are 30 to 40 applications and could increase to 60 applications in the some day,” the officer said.
The officer said it is a busy year for them as people continue to flood their office every day.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade aims to send more than 2,000 workers to work in Australia by end of this year.