By Roel Raymond
The Department of Immigration and Emigration has decided to bring into effect a ruling that will effectively blacklist all foreigners found overstaying their visas, Assistant Controller and Head of the Investigations Unit William Devendra Raja told Daily Mirror online.
Devendra Raja explained that visa-on- arrival facilities were afforded to travelers from 84 select countries; that is the European, North American and SAARC countries, but said that the facilities were being misused and abused by certain categories, mainly those from India, Pakistan and China.
The Assistant Controller for Investigations said that on arrival to the country, a free visa period of thirty days is afforded to travelers and tourists from these 84 countries, extendable by payment of a nominal fee variable to each country, to a total of two months or ninety days.
He said that in spite of these facilities, a large number of tourists flouted the law and obtained for themselves temporary work; with the Indians and Pakistani’s working largely in either jewellery businesses or in restaurants, and the Chinese loitering and loafing on street corners or in casinos.
Devendra Raja explained that an investigations team headed by him looked into matters of this nature, but stressed that they would only get involved if solid information was received to them regarding nefarious activity and /or the violation of Immigration and Emigration law in the country.
As such he explained, no trouble was caused to the average and law abiding tourists, with the Department conducting no raids or stake-outs but only random checks based on information, applying pressure to only those tourists that actively engaged in breaking the law or overstaying the allotted time on their visas.
Devendra Raja went onto say that those found violating the law would not only be deported from the country with immediate effect but also have their names black marked so as to prevent any further activity in the country – revoked only by appeal to the Controller General of the Immigrations and Emigrations Department and the subsequent, if any, pardon.