Israel Population and Immigration Authority director Tomer Moskowitz is confident that new measures will reduce the backlog of 700,000 Israelis waiting for a new passport.
Moskowitz cites three measures that have recently been introduced. A new office has been opened in Bnei Brak where Israelis can receive a temporary passport for NIS 400, which must be paid online as the office itself can receive payments. This provides a cheaper alternative to the office at Ben Gurion airport, which provides such passports for NIS 820. By the end of May, 5,000 people will have received such passports from the Bnei Brak office.
A second measure to cut the backlog is at the factory that produces the passports. The current six-week wait for a new passport will be reduced by the introduction of a new evening shift at the plant and then cut further by the start of a third night shift before the summer. In addition, the Population and Immigration Authority has taken on 20 new employees and will hire an additional 60 staff in June.
Israelis who hold dual citizenship can travel abroad on their foreign passports until January 1, 2023.
Moskowitz says, "We are on the threshold of seeing an easing of the situation in the field in the coming days. The big measures we have undertaken and their realization and impact on the public are a matter of days."
The Ministry of Interior Population and Immigration Authority came in for harsh criticism last week during a discussion on the backlog of passport renewals by the Knesset Interior Affairs Committee. MKs pointed out that the crisis was highly predictable with Israelis reluctant to travel over the past two years due to the Covid pandemic now discovering ahead of the summer that their passports had expired.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 25, 2022.
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