THE Department of Immigration will work extended hours to clear the passport backlog pending since last August.
Immigration director Major Nemani Vuniwaqa said they had completed issuing passports to applicants that applied in August last year and moving on to dealing with applications received in September the same year.
Major Vuniwaqa said during the day, the department would operate until all customers were served.
He said at present, they had completed issuing 11 per cent of the 17,000 applications since Wednesday.
Major Vuniwaqa said as they continued to issue passports, they had noticed that a large number of people were now making applications and demanding for applications to be processed immediately.
"A total of 105 urgent applications were processed as of Wednesday whereas 220 applicants collected their passports after making full payments," he said.
He said they also faced challenges such as machine breakdowns that caused further delays in the printing process.
Meanwhile, a total of 991 books were issued since Wednesday and the number is expected to increase as more people are expected to turn up for collection at their respective dates.