No visa-free entry for Bangladeshis: Home ministry

  • Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 24, 2014 01:18 IST

The Union home ministry (MHA) has shot down the ministry of external affairs (MEA) proposals to ease restrictions on the arrival and movement of Bangladeshi nationals in the country.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Bangladesh from June 25 and 27 and as part of the tentative agenda on ‘deliverables’ during the trip, the MEA mooted providing visa- free entry to Bangladeshi nationals under the age of 18 and over the age of 65 years. The foreign ministry also proposed granting visa-on-arrival facility to Bangladeshis.

“We have rejected both the proposals as non-deliverables due to security concerns. Lifting such restrictions can create huge problems in the bordering areas which already facing the problems due to illegal Bangladeshi residents. A formal letter had been sent to the MEA on Monday in this regard telling them both the proposals don’t find favour with the MHA,”said an MHA official requesting anonymity.

The MEA had also mooted a proposal for long-term multiple entry tourist visa for Bangladeshis under the age of 18 and over the age of 65 years.

“At the moment, such Bangladeshis are given multiple-entry visa for one year. We don’t see any problem if the tenure of such visa can be extended up to five years but with the rider that visa-holder will have to appear before the Foreigner Regional Registration Office every year,” the official added.

Swaraj will visit Bangladesh as part of the Narendra Modi government’s emphasis on firming up relations with neighbouring countries.

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