Due to the incessant delay and racketing which has characterised passport processing in Nigeria, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Interior has disclosed that it will open 1,000 passport processing offices across the country.
Some of these offices will be situated in banks and hotels, the Minister of Interior stated.
According to the Minister, Rauf Aregbesola, Nigeria currently has 50 passport processing offices which is hugely inadequate to cater for the number of people seeking to get or renew their international passports.
He added that the creation of 1,000 passport processing offices across strategic locations will help to reduce hardships and frustrations experienced by passport applicants.
The Minister who was represented at an event organised by the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce in Lagos stated that the ministry of interior will also create a premium service for passport processing which will come at a higher fee but enhanced service.
While he appealed to Nigerians not to wait until the last minute before applying for a new passport, the minister disclosed that there are a few people in the Ministry of Interior who are frustrating the ongoing reform in the ministry.
Investors King understands that some immigration officers are taking advantage of the passport delay process to arm-twist applicants.
This has become a lucrative business for some officers who collect extra N70,000 to N80,000 for what would normally have cost N26,500.
It is observed that this is common in the cities especially in Lago and Abuja passport offices due to a higher number of applicants in those offices.
Similarly, in July 2022, the House of Representatives also set up an ad hoc committee to investigate passport racketing and booklet shortage in the Nigeria Immigration Office.
The house was worried that the racketing and booklet shortage is not just causing hardship for Nigeria, it is also putting Nigeria in a bad light in the international community.
United Arab Emirates Passport is the Most Powerful Travel Document in the World
UAE beats the likes of Germany, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg in the latest Passport Index ranking
The United Arab Emirates passport has been adjudged the most powerful passport in the world with the privilege to enter 121 countries without a Visa.
The middle east country beats the likes of Germany, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg in the latest Passport Index ranking, Investors King learnt.
According to the latest publication of the Passport Index, the Emirati passport has the highest form of mobility and freedom from travel restrictions with 121 countries without a visa and 59 states with a visa on arrival.
This means if you hold an “Emirati Passport”, you can travel to 121 countries visa-free and get a visa on arrival in 59 others. Only 19 countries of all countries in the world require a visa from an Emirati passport holder.
Subsequently, the report rates Emirati passports with 91% mobility access ahead of the United States which was rated with 83% mobility access.
The United States passport allows visa-free travel to 109 countries and visa-on-arrival to 56, while 26 countries require Americans to apply for visas in order to enter, the report noted.
Investors King understands that the United Arab Emirates has become a destination for business and tourism, attracting millions of visitors every year.
Similarly, it now hosts many headquarters of multinational companies in the Middle East country. The country has also introduced several economic and administrative reforms to stimulate trade and diplomatic positions among the committee of nations.
In addition, the economic nerve of the country, Dubai was recently ranked as one of the world’s top five cities for expats to live.
“What sets the UAE passport apart in particular is its ability for holders to enter countries with a visa on arrival”.
“Whilst the passport’s power to enter countries visa-free is comparable to its competitors, those with a UAE passport can enter 13 more countries with a visa on arrival than those with a German passport, the second-ranked passport,” the report stated.
Brain Drain is Really Brain Gain in Greece
By Dimitris Tsingos, Founder, Starttech Ventures
The tech talent shortage in Greece is often blamed on the so-called “brain drain”. But I see nothing wrong with software engineers from Greece moving to other countries and exploring opportunities there.
It is a necessary step for progress, development, and modernization, writes Dimitris Tsingos, Founder of Starttech Ventures, a Greek network of start-up companies.
The so-called brain drain has been observed in many countries, not just in countries in the Middle East and Africa but also in my country Greece. Hundreds of thousands of highly skilled young professionals have migrated after the financial crisis in search of better prospects in more developed economies.
The real problem lies in the unidirectional nature of the flow; many skilled workers leave, and fewer are coming to our countries to work in them.
Traditionally “brain drain” has been considered quite a significant problem. To put it simply, it is thought to be wrong. What if we looked at it from another perspective? Could this phenomenon bring something good? Could we talk about “brain gain” instead of “brain drain”?
Countries that have continuously experienced high economic growth, such as China and India, demonstrate that the mobility of a high-skilled workforce can play a decisive role in improving the home country’s economy. And on top of that, modernizing its society.
You see, many of them will finally return home. Others will stay there and act as ambassadors and ‘bridges’ between the home and the host nation. Also, many send money home to their families (called remittances). As the world bank states: “there is strong and unambiguous evidence that supports the argument that remittances alleviate poverty in developing countries.”
Many studies also show that diversity in the form of people from different walks of life, with different experiences and networks from other countries, helps companies grow faster and find new opportunities. Many of our companies witness that the diversity in their teams contributes immensely to the company’s creative output.
It is just a different point of view: The mobility of people is in many ways good for the world! When mobility increases, new opportunities will present themselves while old ones disappear.
At Starttech Ventures, we recognized the power of “brain gain” long ago. In our portfolio companies in Athens, we already employ individuals of more than twelve nationalities who, for various reasons, decided to move and work here. And we encourage people to see opportunities in other parts of the world. So, we would be happy for people from Greece to find work in start-ups in different countries and vice versa. That would make us learn more from each other and strengthen ties between our countries, helping both economies grow.
I firmly believe that there’s no reason for our countries not to be able to attract skilled workers that want to live and work in them. There are many fabulous places worldwide with a booming tech scene, and we should help more people worldwide know about the opportunities we provide. And we could work together to do that.
Thus, we are proud to announce the Work-in-Greece initiative, which aims to support the relocation of innovative Software Engineers that want to work in Greece. And, with that, build stronger ties and collaborations between companies in both countries to mutually benefit all societies!
Immigration Service Orders Passport Offices to Work on Saturday
Passport offices to work on Saturdays across the country amid the surge in demand
Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has directed passport offices across the country to work on Saturday amid the surge in demand for international passports.
The directive which was contained in a statement released yesterday by the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tony Akuneme, noted that the directive is aimed to enable the Service to reduce the backlog occasioned by the 2020 and 2021 prolonged lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The CG has directed that passport offices across the country with a high volume of pending applications to work on Saturdays. (However), the Saturdays preceding the Christmas and New Year holidays are exempted.
“The period for this exercise is expected to be every Saturday commencing from December 3, 2022, to January 28, 2023, between the period of 10 am and 2 pm,” the statement partly read.
Investors King understands that Nigerians have been going through a long queue while trying to acquire an international passport. In some cases, it could take as long as four to six months.
This long queue has created room for racketeering. A standard passport which normally costs N26,000 is being done at the rate of N50,000. It could be as high as N70,000 to N100,000 in some cities such as Abuja and Lagos.
According to the statement, the Controller-General of the immigration service has also approved the deployment of the Passport Controller in Ekiti to Jigawa, while the one in Ondo was moved to NIS Zonal Office in Ibadan.
The CG added that he will hold passport officers accountable for any acts of indiscipline by officers under their watch.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has cautioned Nigerians on the dangers of irregular migration, so as not to waste their future.
The CG who gave the advice disclosed that the service will intensify its efforts to sensitize Nigerians on the danger of irregular migration.
He noted that most of the victims are being brainwashed by travel agents who only care about making money from such trips.
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