By Purushottam P. Khatri
Kathmandu, Dec. 11: As the cases of human trafficking under the cover of visit visa have, of late, gone up, the government has begun preparations to tighten and regulate the service.
The government has started drafting strict measures as human traffickers have been smuggling Nepali citizens, especially women, from the Tribhuvan International Airport and landing them in difficult conditions abroad.
Director General Ramesh Kumar KC at the Department of Immigration (DoI) said that the Department is preparing to introduce some provisions in the area of visit visa after a lot of complaints and grievances started coming to the office from public quarters and some victims who had returned home facing ordeals for going abroad on visit visas.
“Under various pretexts, many Nepali women and even men have been found going abroad on visit visa and we are facing problems in managing this visa properly for Nepali citizens,” Director General KC said.
“We are discussing various possibilities to regulate this visa for Nepalis, among them introducing specific educational qualification, minimum English language literacy and insurance of the visa bearer.”
“We will very soon reach an agreement and introduce the procedure to address this issue,” KC added.
Meanwhile, Ram Chandra Tiwari, Director and Information Officer at the Department of Immigration, said that preparations were afoot to implement strict measures to control human trafficking and fraud that continue to increase on visit visa.
Tiwari, however, said that the department has not been making any compulsory provision regarding specific educational qualification and literacy of English language for the Nepali nationals to fly abroad on visit visas.
“News reports have it that educational qualifications up to SLC/SEE and English language have been made compulsory during the revision of immigration procedures. But the department has clarified that there is no truth in such reports.”
“The department would like to inform that no discussion has been held about educational qualification and English language to enjoy the visit visa facility,” he said. “Just because you don’t have an educational qualification and don’t know English language doesn’t mean you can’t go and visit any country, which will be impractical.”
Director Tiwari said that many of the experts and officials have suggested making insurance policy mandatory to all Nepalis going abroad. Insurance is being introduced keeping in mind that an embarrassing situation may arise while travelling on a visit visa, he reasoned.
“Going abroad on a visit visa means going for fun and refreshment. How can a person who does not have adequate financial means to insure oneself, can go abroad for fun and enjoyment?” he asked.
Although he said that insurance policy system was going to be a mandatory provision, he said that the sum of insurance backup to be deposited is yet to be confirmed. Most likely, the government is fixing the insurance amount at Rs. 2 million.
Persons having their specific earning background can do so and they can easily go abroad on a visit visa, he said. This will help control illegal human trafficking taking place by abusing the visit visa facility, he claimed.
At present, a person going abroad on a visit visa has to carry at least $1,000 dollars along with passport and visa. Similarly, there should be prior arrangements for traveling, staying and returning from abroad.
There is a growing trend of sending youths abroad on visit visas with the temptation of better employment. From time to time the people who have been sent abroad on visit visas face difficulty in their rescue and relief.
– The Rising Nepal