An Iranian citizen was recently arrested by Nepal Police from Budhanilkantha for staying illegally in Nepal without visa for over six years. Mostafa Salooghiaval was found to have overstayed in Nepal for almost 2295 days. The 25-year-old, who came to Nepal for the first time in 2009 under a tourist visa, never returned to his country. He is currently at the detention center of the Department of Immigration (DoI).
A national daily reports many foreigners overstay their visas here in Nepal taking undue advantage of the weak immigration policy of the country. The current record system of the immigration department can’t track the visa status of any foreigner, resulting in haphazard overstay of foreigners.
During interrogation, the Iranian national recorded that he was not able to renew his visa due to lack of money. His statement at the legal division of the DoI reads, “I didn’t have enough money to renew my visa so I stayed illegally in Nepal for some time. Later, I enjoyed the place and didn’t want to go back.”
Another Iranian citizen Payam Jamshidi, 25, is also being detained at the DoI detention center for breaching the immigration laws. He has overstayed in Nepal for 1535 days.
The immigration laws allow the DoI to charge additional penalty of up to Rs 50,000 and slap a jail term of up to 10 years to those violating the immigration rules.
When asked about the fragile immigration system, Director General Kedar Neupane admitted that they have not been able to track the visa status of any foreigner in lack of modern technologies. “We arrest foreigners on the basis of tip offs we receive. We can’t track the visa status of foreigners from our system,” confessed Neupane.
The immigration officials agree that there could be more foreigners who have been overstaying in Nepal for many years than these two Iranians. They even admit that they are unable to arrest them in lack of effective resources. The DoI deports at least 500 foreigners a month on an average for overstaying.