No visa-free entry for Bangladeshi nationals

NEW bengladeshDELHI: The Union home ministry has shot down suggestions that visa-free entry for Bangladeshi minors and senior citizens as well as extension of visa-on-arrival scheme to Bangladesh be brought up for discussion during external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Dhaka starting 25 June.
However, the home ministry gave the go-ahead to the external affairs ministry to discuss the possibility of granting long-term, multiple-entry tourist visa to Bangladeshis who are either under 18 years or above 65 years of age. Those holding such visa, with a proposed validity of five years, may be required to report to the foreigner regional registration office (FRRO/FRO) here at least once a year.
The items suggested in the tentative agenda for Swaraj’s deliberations in Dhaka, forwarded by the external affairs ministry for the home ministry’s opinion, included visa-free entry for Bangladeshi minors and senior citizens, covering Bangladesh under the visa-on-arrival scheme, and grant of long-term, multiple-entry tourist visa to Bangladeshi children under 18 and elderly citizens above 65 years of age.
The note sought comments of NE division, Cabinet secretariat and Bureau of Immigration on these proposals by June 13, 2014.Home ministry officials, who indicated that they were “puzzled” that the external affairs ministry took the trouble of tapping North Block for its opinion on visa-free entry and visa-on-arrival scheme vis a vis the prior reference category country, confirmed that the suggested agenda items relating to visa-free entry and visa-on-arrival were shot down due to “security considerations”.
An official even pointed out how Bangladesh, the primary source of illegal immigration in states like Assam and West Bengal, had tried to push the above issues at earlier bilateral meetings, only to meet with disapproval from the Indian side.

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