Pakistan to waive off visa fees of Chinese CPEC workers


Islamabad, Sep 7 ( The Pakistan government is set to waive off $257,692 visa fees of 2,511 Chinese nationals working on development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the media reported on Saturday.

The waiver would be a one-time dispensation to Chinese nationals to change their visit visas into work visas in Pakistan free of charge.

Sources told The Express Tribune that Prime Minister Imran Khan had given a go-ahead to table the matter in the upcoming meeting of the federal cabinet for approval.

The cabinet had considered a summary submitted by the Interior Division on May 16, 2019 and granted approval in principle as a one-time dispensation to Chinese nationals to change their visit visas into work visas.

Now, the government wants to waive off multimillion-rupee fees.

Thousands of Chinese nationals are working on the CPEC and non-CPEC projects in Pakistan.

According to the policy, visas issued by missions could not be changed for any reason in Pakistan. Under the policy, Chinese nationals would get extension in their visas here instead of going back after the expiry of their visas and returning on work visas, The Express Tribune reported.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had granted a one-time dispensation to 2,511 Chinese nationals in May this year.

The Chinese Embassy in Islamabad had informed that if they went back to China to get their visas changed, the construction work would get delayed.

The $60 billion CPEC is a key project of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through a vast network of highways, rail lines and sea lanes.

The multi-billion dollar corridor connects the Chinese city of Kashgar with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian Sea.

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