Australian Passport Office To Recruit More Staff

Australian Passport Office To Recruit More Staff

Additional staff will be added to call centres for the Australian Passport Office to help alleviate lengthy delays to application processing times.

The Federal Government will increase staff numbers at the Australian Passport Office to help curb “unacceptable” application wait times.

Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts said the wait times for passport approvals had blown out of control as applications reached a daily record of 16,417 on Tuesday.

“The Minister for Foreign Affairs and I are working with DFAT to fix this, by urgently increasing numbers of processing and call centre staff as quickly as staff can be recruited and trained,” Mr Watts said in a statement.

“To help deal with phone delays, we are standing up a new additional call centre with 35 staff this week and 35 more staff next week.

“And a minimum additional 250 staff will come on board over the next six weeks to process applications.

The Australian Passport Office dealt with between 7,000 and 9,000 applications a day before the pandemic, however, that number has now jumped to around 12,000.

Mr Watts said many applications that weren’t lodged during the pandemic being lodged now, contributing to a massive backlog.

“This problem was predictable and is the result of the previous government dropping the ball and failing to properly plan for the surge in passport applications when borders re-opened,” Mr Watts said.

“It shouldn’t be Australians who suffer the consequences of these failures.”

Mr Watts said it would take some time “to get back on track” and that the federal government will continue to work with DFAT to ensure the required resources are delivered.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading recommends applicants allow up to six weeks to get their passport – but some people have been waiting for months.

The delays are threatening to undo holiday plans for thousands of people.

Some desperate to travel overseas have received no updates on their applications and have been unable to contact the office by phone.

Since the beginning of the year, 2.4 million passports have expired.

More information about the recruitment will be communicated to you in now time through the Australia Passport Office Website.

Australian Passport Office To Recruit More Staff