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Overwhelmed by passport applications, DFAT recruits hundreds more staff



DFAT is boosting staff at its passport processing and call centres after being overwhelmed by applications following the post-covid resumption of international travel.

Tim Watts

Assistant foreign affairs minister Tim Watts says more than 250 extra staff will be recruited and trained over the next six weeks after the number of daily passport applications hit a record high of 16,417 this week.

The government has also set up a new call centre with 35 staff, to be joined by another 35 next week.

“The Minister for Foreign Affairs and I are working with DFAT to fix this, by urgently increasing numbers of processing and call centre staff as quickly as staff can be recruited and trained,” Mr Watts said.

He said DFAT received around 7,000-9,000 applications per day before the pandemic.

However applications shot up after Covid-19 as borders reopened last November.

“Recently, that has increased to around 10,000-12,000 per day, with many applications that weren’t lodged during the pandemic being lodged now,” Mr Watts said.

He criticised the previous government for failing to plan for what he said was a predictable problem.

Mr Watts said he would continue to work with DFAT to ensure adequate resources were delivered in future.

The post Overwhelmed by passport applications, DFAT recruits hundreds more staff appeared first on Government News.

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