The Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) has given an ultimatum of two months to more than 37,000 people with unclaimed passports to pick them up or else be destroyed.
Through the Internal Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Simon Peter Mundeyi, DCIC says it is stuck with over 37,000 unclaimed passports including those that were processed in 2018 when the issuance of the electronic machine-readable passports (e-Passport) commenced.
Mundeyi explains that a decision has been taken to give the applicants two months to collect their passports after which the remaining passports will be destroyed.
The ultimatum expires in September and the destruction of unclaimed passports will start with those that were processed in 2018, 2019, and 2020. Mundeyi says that their assessment has revealed that many unclaimed passports were for girls who wanted to go for jobs in the Middle East.
He explains that the labor export companies told the applicants to use their official lines, a reason why hundreds of messages alerting people to pick up their passports end up on one sim card. Mundeyi adds that if 500 messages are sent to one sim card, chances are that many will not be read or will bounce back.
In some cases, people wrote the wrong telephone numbers, a reason some messages go to people who have never even thought about acquiring a passport. This is why DCIC has urged people who applied for passports more than three months ago to just walk to the former face technologies center in Kyambogo and check for their travel documents.
Ronnie Mukundane, of Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), says he is not aware of companies that order their clients to register using their company telephone lines. He however says it is the companies that pay for travel documents and that is why they always wish to be informed once the passports of their clients are ready.
“Ideally, we would wish that when the passports are ready the companies also be informed and be present at the time of picking. We on many occasions see applicants disappearing after picking up their passports. This presents a loss to a company that paid for the acquisition of this passport,” Mukundane said.
UAERA says through their official engagements with DCIC, they have on many occasions brought this up and requested that they be included in the mechanism of receiving the passports once the one for their clients is ready.