The Ministry of Interior State Department for Immigration staff members will be required to work during the weekends and at night to clear the enduring Kenyan passport processing backlog.
This is according to the acting Director General Evelyn Cheluget who also noted that they plan to increase the number of staff members and deploy others abroad.
Chelugut announced the new measures while addressing the immigration officers at Nyayo House on Monday, August 28, 2023.
She expressed optimism that the new changes will see great improvements in the processing and issuance of travel documents and effectively address the long-standing delays.
The new changes will also see the introduction of counters for emergency cases as well as day and night shifts that will run from Monday to Sunday. Applications will now be received from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Further, the immigration department will be acquiring new booklets and new machines that will allow for 24/7 passport printing.
"We are working hard, the passport section has been working on shifts, we have dedicated counters for urgent cases and all regional heads to boost staff in the urgent counters," Chegulet stated.
This follows outrage from Kenyans questioning the prolonged delays at the Immigration Department in the processing of passports that should take 10 to 15 days.
In their defence, the Directorate of Immigration Services noted that Nyayo House printed 96,310 passports between July 13 and August 2023 in both day and night shifts.
53,750 were printed by personnel working the day shift, while the remaining 42,560 were processed during the night shifts.
Appearing before the Regional Integration Committee at Parliament Buildings on Thursday, August 24, the CS admitted that corrupt officials at the immigration department were taking bribes for government services offered at no cost.
"I will clean up Nyayo House once and for all. If need be we will seal off Nyayo house and declare it a scene of crime," the CS added.
"How do Kenyans cue from 6 AM? It won’t be business as usual. We must clean up Nyayo house."
According to Kindiki, the passport backlog currently stands at 58,000.
The CS told the committee the Department of Immigration and Citizen Services processes approximately 5,000 passports daily.
Kindiki said the department is working to ensure the crucial travel document is issued within seven days. He noted that the department is keen to process passports within three days in the future and 24 hours in the event of emergencies.
At the same time, he told the committee that Kenyans would continue to wait 21 days for their identity cards to be issued.