Refugees from neighbouring countries to be granted a 5 year long term visa
Bharti Jain,TNN | Dec 16, 2014, 10.07 PM IST
NEW DELHI: Minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh seeking refuge in India will be granted a five-year long term visa (LTV) instead of a one-year visa, based on recommendation of the state government or UT administration. Besides, powers have been delegated to the FRRO/FRO to extend a short-term visa for this category of foreign nationals for a period of six months.
A time-line of one month for FRRO and FRO and 21 days for the state government and union territory administration has been fixed for processing LTV applications.
The sops promise to bring relief to minority nationals from neighbouring countries, mostly Hindus and Sikhs, seeking refuge in India on grounds of fear of religious persecution back home.
Children of minority nationals from neighbouring countries, staying on long-term visa, can now take admission in schools, colleges, universities, technical and professional institutions without any specific permission from the state government or union territory administration, said a statement issued by the home ministry on Tuesday.
Only an intimation is to be given in this regard to FRRO or FRO concerned. The state governments and UT have been empowered to grant permission to minority nationals from neighbouring countries staying on long-term visa to engage themselves in private jobs.
State governments and UT administrations have now been empowered to grant an additional two places at any given point of time, apart from the place of stay, grant return visa for a maximum period of 90 days at a time and permission for change in mode of travel and port of exit in respect of minority nationals from neighbouring countries having a LTV or who have applied for the same.
According to an estimate, about one lakh minority community refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan live in India.