Minorities from neighbouring countries to get five-year visa: Government

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Members of the minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will be given five-years visa instead of one year as part of government’s effort to address their grievances and according citizenship in future.

According to a Home Ministry statement, the central government has decided that henceforth the long-term visa will be granted initially by the Home Ministry for five years at a time on the specific recommendation of the state government or Union Territory administration instead of one year at present.

Powers have been delegated to Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) and Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) concerned to grant extension for a period up to six months on the short-term visa of the minority nationals from neighbouring countries applying for long-term visa.

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 of such applications.

The statement said, “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.”

“Only an intimation is to be given in this regard to FRRO or FRO concerned. The state governments and union territory administrations have also been empowered to grant permission to minority nationals from neighbouring countries staying on long-term visa to engage themselves in employment of purely private nature,” it added.