Having one of the highest numbers of OFW population overseas, the Philippine Embassy in Hong Kong is among one of the few foreign missions loaded with requests for services ranging from passport applications and renewals to notarial services and assistance to nationals.
This being the case, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in coordination with the Philippine Embassy in Hong Kong, has partnered to explore new facilities that can help address the loaded requests for services from the consular office in the country.
PH Passport Appointment Goes Digital in HK – DFA
In consideration of this, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has launched an online passport portal in Hong Kong to expedite the process of setting appointments.
The new portal, the Online Appointment System (OAS), aims to cut down the long queues for passport appointments in Hong Kong, especially on Sundays, by providing an easy-to-navigate, faster and more convenient way to get a passport appointment on-line, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin, Jr.
According to the announcement, this is the first-ever passport online appointment portal launched abroad by the Philippine government.
Meanwhile, Antonio A. Morales, consul general to Hong Kong, thanked Locsin for choosing Hong Kong as the first site for the OAS outside the Philippines.
According to Morales, there are more than 234,000 Filipinos in Hong Kong and over 215,000 or 92 percent are household service workers.
Accordingly, the Consulate General has issued more than 48,000 passports to Filipinos in Hong Kong in 2018.
Through the new portal (OAS), workers abroad will be provided the flexibility in choosing passport appointments. Since there will only be four easy steps and will only take a few minutes to complete using either a mobile phone or computer, passport applicants will no longer have to line up, call or e-mail to make an appointment at the Embassy.
As this initiative is only the first in many countries with huge concentration of OFWs, Locsin hopes to expand the OAS to other countries in Asia, as well as in other regions such as the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.
Through this initiative, OFWs in Hong Kong will be able to free up a huge part of their schedule allocated to processing their papers, especially when they can only do it during weekends, which, most of the time, are their only free days off from work. By doing so, they can make better use of their time to communicate with their families or do something productive, such as attending free training courses offered in the city.