More than a year after Bangladeshi and Nepalese citizens were instructed to convert their old, handwritten passports to the new machine-readable documents, many have yet to make the switch, reports The National UAE.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) gave November 24 last year as the deadline to convert the old style passports. However, some people claim they were either not told of the change or their companies were withholding their passports.
"I work at the Saudi border and I was not aware of this conversion," said Mohammed Sumon Miah, a Bangladeshi cleaner who came to his embassy to submit his old passport.
"When my countrymen informed me about this I started asking my company but it didn’t give me days off to come to Abu Dhabi and deposit it," Miah said whose handwritten passport expired in July.
"It’s been five years since I travelled home and I didn’t know that this passport wouldn’t not be accepted at the airport," the 28-year old said.
Stone mason Milon Khan was also unaware of the changes.
"Today I deposit my passport and hope that I would get in within two months," said the Bangladeshi who was handing in his old passport that expired in July, 2013.
More than 600,000 passports have so far been converted, said Bangladesh ambassador to the UAE, Muhammad Imran.
He urged Bangladeshis in the UAE to replace their old documents.