Long term visas for Goans settled abroad



London: The Union Home Ministry has advised Indian missions abroad to extend long-term visas to Goans settled abroad, NRI Commissioner Eduardo Faleiro has said.

Inaugurating a two-day global Goans Convention at the Indian Gymkhana near Osterley here, Faleiro said he had taken up the issue with the Union home minister after receiving "several complaints from Goans holding foreign passports that some of our Embassies and High commissions abroad issue them tourist visas, lasting three to six months."

Faleiro, a former Union Minister of State for External Affairs, said that the Union Home Minister agreed that the procedure being followed is not correct and that Goans settled abroad must be given long-terms visas or X (extendable) visas.

"The minister informed me that his Ministry is advising the Missions concerned as well as the Foreigners Regional Registration Office, Goa to ensure that long term visas are issued to them and these visas are extended from time to time," Faleiro.

He advised all Non-Resident Goans holding foreign passports to apply at the earliest for a PIO (Person of Indian Origin) or OCI (Overseas Citizen of India) card.

"This will entitle them to stay in India for 15 years or 30 years respectively without any need for a visa. The PIO and OCI cards are renewable."

"In order to redeem the grievances of non-resident Goans, we have decided that every Goan organisation abroad should nominate one representative based in Goa of each country with substantial Goan population and this representative should submit the grievances of Goan expatriates to our office.

Our Office will then forward these complaints to the concerned department and we expect redressal within a month. When this is not possible, status reports will be issued to the concerned individual every month indicating the progress in the settlement of his grievances until the matter is finally settled."

He said Youth of Goan origin who are not Indian nationals should have an opportunity to discover Goa in particular and India in general so that they may contribute to and promote understanding, goodwill, and cooperation between their country of adoption and the country of origin which is India.

For this purpose, "Know Goa Programme" has been formulated. He said under the programme, 10 youths from Goan diaspora, professionals and students in the age group of 18 to 26 years, will be selected every year to participate in the programme.

PTI