New immigration bill bars suspicious Nepali citizens from visiting abroad

Kathmandu, February 22

The Immigration Bill tabled by Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa at the National Assembly stipulates provisions that restrict suspicious Nepali citizens from flying abroad.

As per Section 4 of the bill, the MoHA may stop any Nepali citizen from travelling abroad with or without prescribing the period of such restriction under various circumstances. “If a court has issued an order against foreign trip for a person, the MoHA shall stop him/her at the point of departure,” reads the bill. Similarly, any person charged with financial crime, banking offence, immigration offence, corruption, money laundering, human trafficking, kidnapping, drug smuggling, illegal arms and ammunition, organised crime and terrorism shall not be allowed to leave Nepal.

If there is reasonable ground to believe that the foreign trip of any person will have adverse impact on the sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security and international relation of Nepal, the MoHA shall stop him/her from departing to a foreign country. Likewise, no convict and jail breaker shall be entitled to foreign trip.

The bill has also set down responsibilities of foreigners visiting Nepal. Any foreign citizen shall be obliged to abide by the prevailing laws of Nepal and stay away from activities that disturb public order, and cultural and social harmony. “No foreign citizen shall engage in political activities, commit an offence which intrudes on national security of Nepal and affects the relation between Nepal and its friendly nations, and misuse the purpose of visa,” Section 9 reads.

According to the bill, the Department of Immigration and concerned district administration office shall carry out monitoring and supervision of activities of foreigners right from the day of their arrival to departure. It also requires concerned hotel, lodge, homestay, guest house and the house owner concerned to collect prescribed details of foreigners and submit the same to the immigration office, police unit, ward office of local level or through electronic system operated by the DoI.

The bill has barred foreigners from engaging in any profession, business or service without obtaining prior approval under the prevailing law. Tampering with visa, use of fake visa, illegal entry into Nepal, possession of passport or visa issued to someone else and obtaining Nepali visa by submitting false details are also considered to have committed an offence.

“Any foreigner committing an offence set forth in the bill shall be liable to a jail sentence up to five years or a fine not exceeding Rs 500,000 or both,” reads Section 17. If a foreigner is found to have been involved in offences other than those mentioned in the bill, he/she will face legal action in accordance with the prevailing laws.