Nepalese immigration authorities are claiming to have detained and deported hundreds of citizens from developed countries who it says enter the country on tourist visas but end up living for ever, most taking up employment or setting up their own businesses.
If you are from Nepal, you may have often heard about your fellow Nepalese being detained and deported from developed countries like Australia, USA and England but not often do you hear about ‘illegal Americans’ or ‘illegal foreigners’ in the context of Nepalese immigration.
The Nepalese government arrested and deported as many as 36 American citizens in the last one year alone, a local media in Kathmandu said today.
Not only Americans, the Nepalese immigration department is understood to have detained many illegal non-citizens from First World countries like Australia, Japan, the UK, France and the Netherlands.
Once they are nabbed by the police, the visa over-stayers are made to pay the cost of the visa for the duration of their stay in the country, late fee and fine. As a result, in 2015 the Nepalese government earned US$ 143,319 in late fees and US$ 14,416 in visa fees, Naya Patrika said on Sunday.
According to Nepal’s existing immigration laws, an entrant on tourist visa can stay only up to five months but many foreigners take advantage of the lax legal system in the country and overstay their visas. Many end up opening their businesses while some get jobs in international organisations. One of the deported Americans apparently had lived in the mountain nation for years on end by teaching English language to local students and earning over NRs 10,000 a day.
Some stay on just because Nepal is a fun place to live where smiles are ubiquitous. Some others stay because it is all very cheap.
“Not all foreigners that come here turned out to be rich. Many come here with the intention of hiding as it is cheap here. Some others have been found to be working on a tourist visa,” the local immigration department’s Director General Kedar Neupane was quoted by the newspaper.
Apparently, there is a considerable visa-less Chinese population in the country. China being Nepal’s next door neighbour, many enter the country on tourist visa and set up businesses.