Passport-processing delays to continue until end of month
Waiting times of up to 20 weeks to process Bermudian passports will not be reduced until the end of this month when new staff will be in place, the Ministry of Economy and Labour has said.
The ministry said at the beginning of last month that it would hire more staff to return the waiting time to the usual period of 11 weeks. But new employees are not expected to be in place until the end of August.
A ministry spokesman said: “The public will recall the July 1, 2022 advisory of Bermuda passport-processing times of up to 20 weeks and the hiring of more staff to process the high volume of applications.
“The ministry can confirm that recruitment began in mid-July, and additional personnel are expected to be hired by the end of August. It is anticipated that with the addition of the new staff, processing times will return to 11 weeks.”
The spokesman added that there are several passports currently at Her Majesty’s Post Office waiting to be printed. He said that over the past week, the immigration department had contacted HMPO, the London office and the Deputy Governor’s Office to inquire about passport applications and confirmed that applications for British passports are also taking more than 11 weeks.
The spokesman added: “While we understand and appreciate these delays impact Bermudians' ability to plan and book travel, the challenge of processing passports is not unique to Bermuda.
“However, the Department of Immigration remains committed to resolving these challenges. We ask for the public's patience and understanding as we work to complete the processing of passports as soon as possible.”
The news comes after the One Bermuda Alliance questioned why delays in passport applications processing were continuing.
Jarion Richardson, the Shadow Minister of Labour and for the Cabinet Office, said that while the Government has blamed Britain for the delays, the turnaround time for those renewing their passports with the United Kingdom had fallen.
He said that the “Government’s inefficiencies” were depriving Bermudians of the constitutional right to freedom of movement.