ISLAMABAD -UNS: The Ministry of Interior on Wednesday took a policy decision to review the conditions and requirements for issuance of business and work visas to Chinese nationals.
The decision, taken during a high level meeting held under the chairmanship of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, would ensure transparency in the visa process and also to preclude misuse of visa-friendly regime that exists between the two countries.
It is a part of ministry’s efforts to ensure maximum security of the Chinese nationals visiting Pakistan on various visa categories and to streamline and regulate the entire process of visa issuance to Chinese nationals, a news release said.
“Taking note of few incidents of provision of forged and fake documents of ghost companies to the embassies for issuance of Pakistani visa, it was decided that in future business visas and visa on arrival to the Chinese nationals would only be granted after production of invitation/assignment letter duly certified and endorsed by the recognized Chamber of Commerce & Industry of the country along with letter from commercial attach‚s and other designated officers of Pakistan who are posted abroad for the promotion of business activities,” the press release said.
The National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) will help Industry Chambers and Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) in putting in place an electronic system for sharing of information between the chambers of commerce and industry and the immigration authorities.
The meeting also decided to regulate the process of granting extensions in business visas and to immediately withdraw the powers of regional passport offices for granting visa extension.
In future all cases regarding grant in extension of business visas would be dealt at the Immigration and Passports (IMPASS)headquarters in Islamabad.
DG IMPASS would be authorized to grant three months visa extension, while cases involving further extensions would be referred by IMPASS directorate to the interior ministry. Longer extensions would be discouraged.
The meeting also decided to rationalize the process of issuance of work visas to the Chinese nationals, who intend to visit Pakistan for various government approved/sponsored projects.
Pakistani embassies and mission abroad would be authorized to issue maximum of one year multiple entry work visa for any
project after ascertaining the authenticity of the project and receiving security clearance from the Chinese authorities.
The meeting decided that further extensions in work visa would be granted by the Ministry of Interior only on the request and provision of required documents by the employer.
The Interior Minister directed his ministry to plug in all loopholes in the issuance of visas to the Chinese nationals, so as to ensure maximum transparency in the entire process.
The minister also directed NADRA to expedite consolidation of data of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan so that the data could be shared with security agencies of the country for ensuring security arrangements.
He said that a comprehensive mechanism should be put in place for sharing of information of not only China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related workers, but also of other Chinese nationals visiting the country for various jobs.
Keeping in view various issues being faced by the foreign spouses, who are married to Pakistani nationals, it was decided to re-introduce Pakistan Origin Cards to the foreign spouses after addressing certain issues that led to suspension of these cards.
The meeting was attended among others by Secretary Interior, Advocate General, Chairman NADRA, Director General IMPASS, Director General Ministry of Foreign Affairs and senior officials.