THE Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration plans to introduce an additional group visa counter at its head office to deal with voluminous visa applications so as to ease long queues and delays.
Executive director Etienne Maritz said in an interview with Nampa on Wednesday that the counter will be introduced before the end of September this year.
According to Maritz, the ministry currently operates from one counter, which assists both multiple and single visa applications, adding that there are agencies and people who apply for visas in big numbers on behalf of their clients.
He noted that the decision to establish the additional counter was prompted by complaints by members of the public about long queues and delays at the current visa counter.
"The process of obtaining a visa has now changed. Previously, the visa was approved and stamped manually. However, with the introduction of the electronic visa (E-visa), every passport is scanned, which takes longer than the manual process," he explained.
Martin, however, urged the public to have all the necessary documents with them when applying for visas, and to comply with the officials' directives in order to speed up the process.
A member of the public, Asser Karundu, who waited in the queue for four hours to be assisted at the current visa counter, called on the ministry to introduce a counter that deals with at least only submissions and collections of visas, instead of one counter dealing with different issues.
"The process is slow, and the ministry should come up with a better way of dealing with issuing visas," he said.
Another citizen, Wilmie Slabbert, who also has been standing in the queue for three hours, described the process as stressful.