In an effort to protect passport clients from being duped by middlemen in accessing immigration services, the Department of Immigration has introduced an electronic facility known as Passport Enquiry to contact its clients directly.
The facility enables passport applicants to enquire about the status of their passport application electronically, thereby reducing travelling hassles and also cutting the link between the middlemen and some Immigration Department.
The self-imposed middlemen often rob the passport clients or impersonate immigration officers.
Immigration Deputy Spokesperson, Wellington Chiponde, said it is sad that for a number of times, the department has had cases involving middlemen demanding huge sums of money to assist immigration clients in passport processing.
“Considering this, the department thought of developing the facility which uses an SMS to address the middlemen problem and on the other hand, reduce travelling costs from and to immigration office,” he said and added, “currently we are sensitizing our clients on the new facility whenever they come for passport application.’’
According to Chiponde, since the inception of the facility last month, the Immigration Department has so far received overwhelming response from the general public as the initiative has enabled its clients to engage in other social-economic development.
He said people can inquire by sending the reference number found on their passport receipt to the number 343.
In a random interview done at Immigration Department headquarters premises in Blantyre, passport clients have commended the department for the initiative, saying it will reduce congestion at the immigration offices.
Chikondi Mbewe from Thyolo said the facility will ensure that the department serves its customers efficiently and effectively.
“I am optimistic that this SMS facility will help us a lot because normally, processing a passport at Immigration is a tiresome task because one has to travel from his or her respective home to the department for a number of times, incurring huge traveling costs. At the same time, one has to be on long queues for the sake of processing a passport,” he said.
Another client, Khomba Msoka said: “I am happy that times of being duped by the dobadobas [middlemen] who always take advantage of us in the name of helping us in passport processing are gone for good.”
This is not the first time the Immigration Department has introduced measures to control the interference of middlemen in passport processing services. In January this year, the department introduced indoor photographic service as another deterrent; however the unscrupulous people are still visible.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :