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Three nations offered faster visas for minorities

The Home Ministry has further given ease at the process for granting long-term visas (LTVs) to minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

The order comes days after one of its officials was detained by the Rajasthan Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly extorting money from Pakistani Hindu migrants for their visa extension, visa transfer and grant of citizenship.

The Home Ministry has decreased the time limit for security clearance of applicants from 45 days to 21 days.

After an application reaches the central system, it’s forwarded to three agencies for verification — the State government, the Intelligence Bureau and the Home Ministry.

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“The State government, through the local police, has to run a background check on the applicants who have applied for an LTV. If the State doesn’t reply within 21 days, the system will log them out and the application will be deemed to be cleared. If in future, there is a security implication, the onus will be on the State government,” a senior government official said.

Once the replies from all agencies are fed into the system, the application is automatically processed.

A Home Ministry official said that since 2011, nearly 30,000 Pakistanis had been granted LTVs and, currently, 1,500 such applications were pending. The LTVs are precursors to citizenship, based on the report given by the State governments.

The visa facility, first introduced in 2011 for persecuted Hindus from Pakistan in 2011, was further liberalised after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government came to power in 2014. The LTVs granted to Pakistani Hindus from 2011 to 2014 stood at 14,726.

From January 1, 2015, to July 16 this year, 15,244 LTVs were issued.


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