SAARC immigration authorities meeting begins

Kathmandu, October 10

The meeting of the Core Group of SAARC immigration authorities convened here today.

Secretary General Amjad Hussain B Sial addressed the meeting of the group and visa experts at the SAARC Secretariat.  The eighth meeting of the SAARC immigration authorities had mandated the meeting to develop security software for electronic visas under the SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme. Representatives from the immigration authorities of the SAARC member states participated in the meeting, according to a statement issued by the SAARC Secretariat.

Addressing the meeting, Secretary General Sial said the SAARC air service, SAARC motor vehicles and SAARC railways agreements are under consideration of the member states for effective regional integration.

He further said, “People will benefit from these agreements only when we ease visa and immigration rules and develop infrastructure.” Easing of visa procedures will not only help enhance economic relations and intra-SAARC trade, but also facilitate attainment of the ultimate goal of South Asian Economic Union.

The fifth SAARC Summit held in November, 1990, in the Maldives had launched the SAARC Visa Exemption Scheme with the eventual goal of establishing a visa free regime in the region. The scheme that became operational in 1992 is seen as an important milestone for enhancing people-to-people contacts.