Nepal’s bureaucrats, lawmakers and high profile officials from security agencies can no longer retain their green cards, DVs (diversity visa) and PR (permanent residency) in western countries, Nepal’s minister for general administration Lal Babu Pandit told southasia.com.au today.
“A bill to this effect was passed just 30 minutes ago by State Affairs Committee. It will become a law once the next parliamentary session in March approves it”, Pandit said.
The minister has been instrumental in introducing the latest measures to counter his country’s loss of top civil servants and other government officials to the allurement of the west. Holding such permits abroad is viewed as a case of divided loyalty and hence, the crackdown. There are estimated 5,000 Nepali government officials who hold green cards or PR and this is unacceptable, the minister told southasia.com.au in a telephonic interview.
Minister Pandit has always been a vocal opponent of Nepali bureaucrats holding permanent residency or green cards abroad. He had argued last year that the government officials concerned more about their own green card status and permanent residency could not build Nepal. He then championed a campaign to prepare names of officials who had applied for permanent residency through concerned Nepali embassies. The government also resorted to records at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu to find out which officials held what sort of visa.
Surprisingly, officials as senior as former chief secretary, Deputy Inspector General of Police, army colonel and former chief justice have been found to possess DVs and PR. The minister declined to divulge any names in respect of people’s privacy. Asked if anyone in even higher positions held such status abroad, the minister said, “How high should it go than the likes of Chief Secretary and Chief Justice?”
The minister said those found to have PR and DVs will be given a window of 60 days to shun them failing which they will be made ineligible for any position whatsoever under the Government of Nepal. All facilities accorded to them due to their positions will be stripped too, he warned.
Diversity visas come mostly from the United States of America and they are hugely popular in underdeveloped and developing countries including in Nepal.
There was already a bill pending in Nepal’s constituent assembly that forbade civil servants to obtain DVs and PR but the latest steps go beyond to cover lawmakers and officers in Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Nepal Army.
Nepal’s public sector has suffered considerable ‘brain drain’ as people continue to leave their homeland in search of opportunities in western countries including Australia.