Letter to NRNs

Published On: October 19, 2019 01:00 AM NPT By: Narbada Ghimire  | @@NarbadaGhimire

Narbada Ghimire

Narbada Ghimire

The contributor for Republica.

You owe to this country. This country shaped you to become who you are today. There is no point in hating your roots

Dear Non-Resident Nepalis,

We are proud of our Nepali diaspora all around the world. In the field of science, engineering, information, fashion and many more, Non-Resident Nepalis (NRNs) are proving themselves and giving us the opportunity to be proud of them. Whenever any NRN transplants heart or gets appointed to the highest level, we are filled with euphoria and it becomes the main headlines in Nepali media. We rejoice and celebrate as if it is our own individual accomplishment. We do not worry much about their contribution to their land of origin. It does not matter whether their income contributes to national coffer or not. Everything becomes non-essential or trivial to reconsider or review. We simply become very happy about someone from Nepal making it big at the international level.  Given the high penetration of Nepalis all around the world, we are quite optimistic about their potential of contribution to make Nepal prosperous and great. We look forward to taking pride in millions of you, not a few of you, in the days to come. However, when you come home, please train yourself to have some patience and control your anger whenever you are at edges, especially when things are not as you expect them to be or they do not go the way you expected. You have visited, seen and lived in the most desirable places of the world. I am sure you have learned how civilized people of the civilized countries treat the other person they interact with—dropping stereotypes, upholding his/her dignity and maintaining own decorum and decency. Please do not leave them behind when you come back home. You owe to this country and its people, no matter how disenchanted you may be with things here. This country shaped you to be who you are today. There is no point in hating your roots and everything about it.

Collective request 
This is not my personal request. My request is the collective request of hundreds of government employees who have worked and still working with immigration and related institutions. You hate the queue. We understand that. Please note that whenever there is crowd, you are supposed to wait. It is universal rule. I remember waiting for a very long time to use restroom in China. Nobody complained. I go for grocery shopping and wait for my turn to make payment. I cannot complain and there is nothing about it to lose nerve. In order to make things easy for foreigners, Nepal has made arrangement of visa on arrival. If you hold foreign passport, you have to acquire visa. If there is a queue, bear with it and be happy that you can get it done right there at the airport. It has saved your time and resource that would have otherwise gone into acquiring pre-arrival visa. If you hate it anyways, visas can be obtained from Nepali diplomatic missions very conveniently. Contact your nearest diplomatic mission with required documents and fulfill the due procedures. 

You have the choice of obtaining Non-Resident Nepali card (issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic missions of Nepal). There is a separate desk for valid NRN card holders (remember valid does not imply non-governmental institution /group, it implies those issued by Nepal Government) at the immigration. Yet, most of you won’t opt for this option because it entails lump sum amount of minimum 500 USD which is hard decision to make. Most of those eligible for NRNs opt for relation visa (drag relatives to the Department of Immigration even for few days/couple of months’ visa extension to save few bucks) and whine about procedural requirements and compliance. Please do not mind when you feel Indian citizen being treated better than you. Indian citizens do not require visa on a reciprocal basis and can travel in and out of Nepal showing valid travel documents. Period.  You are not supposed to take out your mobile and start recording.  Immigration in Nepal is restricted zone like anywhere else in the world due to security reasons. Any kind of interruption is unsolicited and least desired. If you have any complaints, choose the formal channel. If you want legal and policy changes, meet lawmakers and policymakers. You are free to be involved in policy lobbying and advocacy. The officer on duty has limited or no power or influence to make things happen as you desire. S/he is simply undertaking the assigned task.

The officers on duty are busy screening documents and passengers. The working environment is supposed to be calm, silent, fearless and interruption-free. Apologize if you are interrupting officer with unnecessary arguments. Cooperation and compliance is your obligation too. Processing visa is not a trivial job like you think or imagine. It is an important one even for a country like Nepal. I am sure you have read “Thank you for treating our officers with respect. No excuse for abuse. It is criminal offence to verbally or physically abuse officers on duty” in immigration of developed countries.  May be reading such notice before heading to home helps.

Shed your arrogance 
There are some of you who are nice, well–behaved and polite while the majority of you are mean, arrogant, filled with self-inflated sense of superiority. Your replies are blunt. You lambast officer for asking you to show your passport and relevant documents as if he/she committed crime let alone other interrogation. Cumbersome bureaucratic procedures are part of well-organized system. It puts you off if we ask for couple of documents/additional proof for further verification. We are labeled as inefficient and dukh dine manchhe. Some of you also resort to degrading, humiliating and abusive behaviors, verbal or through body language (mean stare, long sigh, distortion of face etc).  Having said these, I am not defending that immigration or government institutions are problem-free. There are plenty of constraints and problems. There are plenty of issues to fix and mend. The current leadership at TIA office and department, along with Home Ministry is working on to advance immigration. 

Yet, how you treat someone on duty is not conditioned to anything. Any individual on duty should be enabled to work in free, fair and conducive working environment. Please do not involve in unnecessary arguments, scene and drama. Treat the people on duty right as you have no idea amidst what constraints and limitations they are working. They are not ones to impose your sense of superiority and vanity. They do not need to be reduced to ‘ignorant’, ‘gullible’ and ‘idiots’. Mend your behavior and fix your attitude. On top of everything, do not touch public property. Do not even imagine of vandalizing them. They come from tax payers’ money. You might not have paid tax but your family members and relatives have. Even after knowing everything, if you resort to violence and public property demolition, please know things have changed for good and our law enforcement is cracking on violators of any rank and power. 

Each of your minor conduct matters because you are preventing NRN to be equated with ‘Non-Required Nepali’ or ‘Never Returning Nepali’. So, next time you come home, we look forward to welcoming you and watching pleasant smile, polite language and demeanor. We do hope it is not too much asking from people with so much of international exposure and experience. 

Twitter: @NarbadaGhimire

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