Islamabad [Pakistan], April 7 (ANI): Pakistan government is considering the possibility of giving two years visa extension to Chinese nationals working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
The government may approve a general two-year extension, a senior government official told The Express Tribune. He said that the Ministry of Interior has been requested to make a case for extension and bring it before the Cabinet Committee on CPEC.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is also considering linking the visa period with the completion date of the multibillion-dollar project, which could end the requirement of seeking an extension, reported The Express Tribune.
In March 2019, Pakistan had revised its overall visa policy, which was aimed at facilitating foreigners in getting timely visas. The maximum processing time has been set from four weeks to six weeks.
The Ministry of Interior authorities said some of the Chinese nationals were coming on business visas but were doing a job here, which was in violation of the visa policy. This, according to them, created a situation where the visa renewals and approvals became a little time-consuming.
During the past two years (March 2019 to 2021), as many as 297,000 foreigners had applied for Pakistani visas and the immigration office approved roughly 241,100 applications.
As many as 62,000 Chinese nationals applied for visas, including nearly 9,000 extension applications, showed the record of the immigration office, reported The Express Tribune.
Pakistan is giving visa extension to Chinese nationals as it wants to show its commitment to maintaining policy stability, which according to the Chinese authorities is of great significance for the orderly implementation, sustainable operation and subsequent cooperation of the CPEC energy projects.
The project has been mired in controversy over the charges of corruption and the debt-trap policy of China. Also, the locals are against the project which has a deep impact on the environment as well. (ANI)