Indonesian consulate faces shortage of passports

DUBAI - The Indonesian consulate in Dubai is facing a shortage of passports and has sought the assistance of the Indonesian government to address the problem.

By Lily B. Libo-on

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Published: Mon 25 Aug 2008, 1:18 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:10 PM

Indonesian Consul-General in Dubai Faisal Harun said the passport shortage has been prevailing for quite sometime.

"Of the nearly 45,000 Indonesians living in Dubai and in the Northern Emirates, thousands accompany their employers on holidays. And there aren't enough passport booklets for them," he said.

Almost 50 per cent of Indonesian expatriates living in Dubai and the Northern Emirates are domestic helpers.

Harun said his government was sending lesser number of passports to missions in UAE because the process for the introduction of machine-readable passports was in a transitory phase.

In some cases, the consulate issues 'outpasses' to Indonesians whose passports have expired or do not have blank pages.

The 'outpass' is considered a temporary passport for Indonesians in UAE whose passports have expired and their validity extension stamp cannot be affixed due to lack of blank pages in the passports.

"We have resorted to stamping on expired passports to extend the validity for a period of six months to one year, if there are still blank pages on them. But if the passport pages are full, we have no choice but to issue 'outpasses', which allow the passport holders to travel back to Indonesia," he explained. The problem of passport shortage is the number one concern of the Indonesia embassy because the 'outpass' cannot be used to Indonesians who intend to travel to other countries.

"During summers, a lot of employers go overseas for vacationing with their families. They also take along their Indonesian helpers. But because our 'outpasses' are not accepted internationally, the holders cannot travel abroad," he said.

The Indonesian consul-general said that he had received a cable from Jakarta indicating the Immigration authorities in Jakarta had already sent a few thousand passports.

"Still, this is not enough as a lot of expatriates have to be issued passports in UAE. Moreover, we have not received the passports so far."

Several employers of Indonesian expatriates are also pressing the consulate to issue passports to their nationals so that they could seek extension of contracts or renewal of residence visas.

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