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Myanmar suspends processing of new passport applications

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From Thai PBS World

All passport applicants must now wait for the immigration department to reopen, after the government temporarily suspended operations at the passport office.

The announcement came from Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation, saying that a notice had been received of a temporary cessation of all new passport-related activities.

In recent weeks, the internal affairs and labour ministry decreed that only job-related passports were to be issued through a “Green Channel”, with the issuance of all other kinds of passport stopped since the end of December, 2022.

A special exception was, however, granted to agencies providing pilgrimage services to Bodh Gaya, but this was also stopped after complaints that some agencies were abusing the special rule.

Many netizens believe that this was to address the rampant corruption within the passport office, with officers making massive profits off agencies and individual applicants.

They also believe that the decision to block the issuance of any more new passports temporarily is to keep more people in the country for the upcoming elections, in which that the military-led government is seeking retain power.

There is yet to be any announcement as to when passport processing will resume.

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