Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crackdown On Foreigners Misusing Visa

Crackdown On Foreigners Misusing Visa
Ahmedabad/Surat: Pack your bags and leave the country before September 30. The terse notice has rattled and scared expats across Gujarat. “This is rather rude and a very short notice. We are not sure what to do now,” said a US national, who has been living in Ahmedabad for the past two years.

GS Malik, additional commissioner of police (special branch), has sent notices to the expats saying, “All foreign nationals who are already in the country on business visas and engaged in executing projects/contracts should leave the country on expiry of their existing visas or by September 30, 2009, positively, whichever is earlier.”

“We are just following orders from the ministry of external affairs (MEA). We have not been told why the Centre wants this,” Malik told TOI.

According to sources, the Centre has decided to stop misuse of business visas by expats for employment. “Employment visa applications are examined thoroughly while business visas are easily procured,” said a source.

Special branch officials said in Ahmedabad there are 21 registered business visa holders. These include nine from US, six from UK and the rest from other European countries.

“Employment visa has a limit of six months and requires constant monitoring by the employer. Business visas have much relaxed norms and can be issued for up to one year and can be extended by another six months,” said an immigration official.

The impact of the notice has also been felt in other cities in Gujarat. Foreign nationals were vacating hotels in Surat. Three, four and fivestar hotels have been instructed to ask such foreign nationals to vacate rooms before September 30.

“We are confused about the order. We will meet the city police commissioner on Friday for clarifications,” said Sanat Relia, a hotelier in Surat. “These were longterm guests who used to stay with us for months together,” said Relia.

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