ISLAMABAD - The government yesterday introduced new regulations in its visa regime, at least in three categories, for Chinese nationals as part of its efforts to ensure maximum security for the Chinese visiting Pakistan.

The Ministry of Interior has decided to introduce new regulations in categories of business visa, work visa and visas on arrival for Chinese nationals, a spokesperson for the ministry said.

The step was taken as part of the last week’s decision of the ministry to streamline and strictly regulate its visa regime for Chinese following the abduction and subsequent killing of two Chinese nationals, as claimed by ISIS in Balochistan.

On that incident, the ministry had said that those two Chinese nationals were violating terms and conditions of their business visas issued to them by Pakistani embassy in Beijing and were involved in preaching.

The Interior Ministry took a policy decision to review the conditions and requirements for issuance of business visas, work visas and visas on arrival to the Chinese nationals, the spokesperson said.

The decision was taken to ensure transparency in the visa process and also to preclude misuse of visa-friendly regime that exists between the two countries, he added.

A high-level meeting reviewed the entire visa regime for Chinese nationals in a meeting chaired by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan at the ministry.

The interior secretary, the advocate general, the Nadra chairman, immigration and passports directorgeneral, Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general and senior officials of FIA and Nadra participated in the meeting.

Taking notice of a few incidents of submission of forged and fake documents of ghost companies to the embassies for issuance of Pakistani visas, the meeting decided that in future, business visas and visas on arrival would only be granted to the Chinese nationals after production of invitation/assignment letter duly certified and endorsed by the recognised chambers of commerce and industry of the country along with letter from commercial attachés and other designated officers of Pakistan who are posted abroad for the promotion of business activities.

The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) will help chambers of commerce and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in putting in place an electronic system for sharing of information between the chambers and the immigration authorities.

The meeting also decided to regulate the process of granting extensions in business visas. It was decided that the powers of regional passport offices to grant visa extension would be immediately withdrawn. In future, all cases regarding grant in extension of business visas would be dealt with by the Islamabad headquarters of Directorate of Immigration and Passports. The DG passports would be authorised to grant three-month visa extension. The cases involving further extensions would be referred to by the directorate to the Interior Ministry. It was, however, decided that longer extensions would be discouraged.

The meeting also decided to rationalise the process of issuance of work visas to the Chinese nationals who intend to visit Pakistan for various projects approved/sponsored by the government.

Pakistani embassies and missions abroad would be authorised to issue one-year multiple-entry work visa for any project after ascertaining its authenticity and receiving security clearance from the Chinese authorities.

The meeting decided that further extensions in work visa would be granted by the Ministry of Interior only on the request and provision of required documents by the employer.

The chair directed the ministry that all loopholes in the issuance of visas, especially to the Chinese nationals should be plugged, so as to ensure maximum transparency in the entire process.

The minister also directed the Nadra to expedite consolidation of data of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan so that the data could be shared with security agencies of the country for ensuring maximum security arrangements.

He said a comprehensive mechanism should be put in place for sharing of information of not only the CPEC-related workers but also of other Chinese nationals visiting the country for various jobs.

Keeping in view various issues being faced by the foreign spouses who are married to Pakistani nationals, it was decided to reintroduce Pakistan Origin Cards (POCs) to the foreign spouses after addressing certain issues that led to suspension of these cards.

On June 8, the IS claimed responsibility for the killing of the two Chinese nationals, hours after the army said it had killed some IS militants in an operation in Mastung, Balochistan.

After the claim of their killing, the interior ministry said the two foreigners had got business visas from the Pakistani embassy in Beijing, but they went straightaway to Quetta instead of doing a business and were involved in preaching activities.

Lee Zing Yang, 24 and Meng Li Si, 26, were abducted from Jinnah Town, Quetta, on May 24.

The interior secretary, the advocate general, the Nadra chairman, immigration and passports directorgeneral, Ministry of Foreign Affairs director general and senior officials of FIA and Nadra participated in the meeting.

Taking notice of a few incidents of submission of forged and fake documents of ghost companies to the embassies for issuance of Pakistani visas, the meeting decided that in future, business visas and visas on arrival would only be granted to the Chinese nationals after production of invitation/assignment letter duly certified and endorsed by the recognised chambers of commerce and industry of the country along with letter from commercial attachés and other designated officers of Pakistan who are posted abroad for the promotion of business activities.

The National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) will help chambers of commerce and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in putting in place an electronic system for sharing of information between the chambers and the immigration authorities.

The meeting also decided to regulate the process of granting extensions in business visas. It was decided that the powers of regional passport offices to grant visa extension would be immediately withdrawn. In future, all cases regarding grant in extension of business visas would be dealt with by the Islamabad headquarters of Directorate of Immigration and Passports. The DG passports would be authorised to grant three-month visa extension. The cases involving further extensions would be referred to by the directorate to the Interior Ministry. It was, however, decided that longer extensions would be discouraged.

The meeting also decided to rationalise the process of issuance of work visas to the Chinese nationals who intend to visit Pakistan for various projects approved/sponsored by the government.

Pakistani embassies and missions abroad would be authorised to issue one-year multiple-entry work visa for any project after ascertaining its authenticity and receiving security clearance from the Chinese authorities.

The meeting decided that further extensions in work visa would be granted by the Ministry of Interior only on the request and provision of required documents by the employer.

The chair directed the ministry that all loopholes in the issuance of visas, especially to the Chinese nationals should be plugged, so as to ensure maximum transparency in the entire process.

The minister also directed the Nadra to expedite consolidation of data of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan so that the data could be shared with security agencies of the country for ensuring maximum security arrangements.

He said a comprehensive mechanism should be put in place for sharing of information of not only the CPEC-related workers but also of other Chinese nationals visiting the country for various jobs.

Keeping in view various issues being faced by the foreign spouses who are married to Pakistani nationals, it was decided to reintroduce Pakistan Origin Cards (POCs) to the foreign spouses after addressing certain issues that led to suspension of these cards.

On June 8, the IS claimed responsibility for the killing of the two Chinese nationals, hours after the army said it had killed some IS militants in an operation in Mastung, Balochistan.

After the claim of their killing, the interior ministry said the two foreigners had got business visas from the Pakistani embassy in Beijing, but they went straightaway to Quetta instead of doing a business and were involved in preaching activities.

Lee Zing Yang, 24 and Meng Li Si, 26, were abducted from Jinnah Town, Quetta, on May 24.