Suspicious foreigners under police surveillance

Kathmandu, February 17

Police and immigration authorities have kept suspicious foreign nationals under vigil after a recent report exposed how human traffickers were trying to make Nepal their transit point for sending Bangladeshis abroad.

A high-level official at Nepal Police Headquarters said cops in association with the Department of Immigration had stepped up watch against such trafficking suspects and foreign nationals. Just a week ago, DoI had sent home 15 Bangladeshi nationals, who were preparing to fly various foreign countries via Tribhuvan International Airport.

Their bid to fly abroad came to light after Bangladeshis approached Tourist Police Office, Bhrikutimandap, for help, stating that the agent had fled with their passports. As police alerted the DoI about it, immigration officials fined them for illegal entry to Nepal and deported them.

Police said they had launched further investigation to nab the traffickers.

Last year, police had arrested 37 Bangladeshi nationals from Sorhakhutte for illegally entering Nepal and being involved in small-scale business like weaving and crafting clothes in Thamel area. According to police, hundreds of foreign nationals, mostly Bangladeshis, are suspected to be working in various sectors in an unauthorised way.

Any foreign national residing temporarily in Nepal is not allowed to engage in activities other than the purpose for which the visa was obtained. The tendency of overstaying visa has increased for the want of mechanism to keep tab on foreigners staying in Nepal.

According to the Immigration Rules-1994, the government may deport any foreign citizen in case he/she overstays without extending his/her tourist visa in excess of the period of 150 days. The offender is also liable to a fine of US $5 per day after the visa expires.

The government had expelled 281 foreign nationals in 2017 for violating immigration laws, overstaying, living in Nepal without visa and working without permit, according to a figure of the DoI. In 2016, as many as 339 foreigners were deported.