Govt brings yet another policy to keep close tab on foreigners

Published On: June 9, 2018 06:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

New directive formulated by the Ministry of Home Affairs mandates central and district level cross-agency committees to keep a close watch on foreign nationals and take them under control if they are found involved in suspicious or illegal activities

KATMANDU, June 8: Concerned over “growing illegal activities” by foreign nationals living in Nepal, the government has issued a directive to monitor their activities and take legal action if they are found living here illegally or acting against Nepal's laws.

The policy, Foreign Nationals Monitoring Directive 2018, was introduced to keep close tabs and identify suspicious areas and individuals, maintain records on them and check if they are working as per their visa category, according to government officials.

Under the directive, two separate layers of committees—Central Monitoring Directive Committee and Monitoring and Implementation Committees— will be formed at the center and in all the districts. The committees are mandated to identify areas where foreigners live, assist in keeping a close eye on their activities, and take action if they are found involved in illegal activities.

The Central Monitoring Directive Committee led by the home secretary includes joint secretaries from the Ministries of Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and Tourism, Labor and Employment, a DIG from Nepal Police and a deputy investigation director from the National Investigation Department. The director general at DoI will act as member-secretary.

A separate central monitoring committee led by the DoI director general will also be formed. It will comprise officials from Nepal Tourism Board, Immigration, and the Departments of Tourism, Labor and Consular Services.

Chief district officers will head the monitoring committees in their districts.

The District Monitoring Committee is also mandated to map risk areas and suspicious individuals, check tourist entry points and arrest Nepali nationals found obstructing investigations. Also, the committee is mandated to enter any areas where foreigners are living, carry out raids and conduct inquiries.

This development comes at a time when officials of the Department of Immigration have been given more authority and more equipment and resources.

This is the first time the government has come up with such a directive. Previously, only the Department of Immigration was mandated to monitor the activities of foreigners. Since there is no presence of the DoI beyond the Valley, foreigners living outside the capital were not within monitoring range.

“This time, we have expanded the monitoring of foreigners down to district level. Also, this has further strengthened our national monitoring capacity,” said Dipak Kafle, director general of DoI, adding that the urgency of monitoring across the country was felt after foreigners were found engaged in unauthorized activities outside Kathmandu.

The move, according to Home Ministry officials, was taken following complaints about foreigners involved in religious conversion.

Many foreigners who arrived in Nepal on tourist visas are said to be working with various organizations and overstaying. In the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake the inflow of foreigners increased, according to the ministry. They are said to be involved in illegal activities and some were arrested on charges of being pedophile.

In April, Peter Daglish, a former UN official, was arrested from his room in Mandan Deupur Municipality-1, Kavre district with two children and charged with involvement in pedophile activities.

The 60-year-old Dalglish, founder of Himalayan Community Foundation, had arrived in Nepal with permission to work for the poor and deprived.

Following the increased inflow of foreigners and complaints about their involvement in illegal activities, the government has been expediting its monitoring. Against this backdrop, the Oli government earlier introduced an Integrity Policy to tighten the screws on international organizations and foreigners. The policy is yet to be endorsed by the cabinet.

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