Nigerians in Qatar face deportation, job losses over lack of passport machines
The Nigeria embassy in Qatar is facing difficulties due to lack of passport machines, which has limited some Nigerians from continuing life in Qatar.
Former Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation’s (NIDO) Qatar President, Victor Ikoli has expressed his frustrations over the lack of passport machines at the Nigeria embassy in Qatar and the obstacles it presents for Nigerians travelling.
Ikoli said that the “challenges of renewal and procurement of passports” faced by the Nigerian diaspora in Qatar is an urgent matter and that the Nigerian Federal Government to weigh in on the issue.
The difficult situation is especially concerning as some employers sponsoring the Nigerian nationals are unable to help when their travel documents expire.
Ikoli stated that, “the most pressing issue throughout my four-year tenure in office was the renewal and issuance of Nigerian passports.”
He commended the Nigerian embassy’s for issuing approximately 1,500 passport applications for renewal including first-time applicants amongst which were new-borns.
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“However, over 130 passports were yet to be issued, thereby exposing the individuals to job termination and deportation if their residence cards were invalid, and possibly bank account closure among others,” he added.
Many individuals have lost their jobs due to a delay in processing the passports. “I was personally involved in two significant cases, (where) one was terminated and his resident card could not be renewed by his company, because his passport had expired,” Ikoli noted.
In some cases, the embassy would issue support letters to be used as a backup document to be presented to the Qatari immigration office.
He further added that Nigerians, at times, were unable to renew their residency cards, despite multiple appeals.
A Nigerian woman, who had moved to the United Kingdom was unable to travel with her two children and husband because her husband’s passport was not yet ready,” Ikoli explained.
Adding, “she now has to prove sole custodian of the children, because their father is unable to travel at this time.”