New Delhi: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has taken control of "exit order" decisions of the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in case of Afghan nationals residing in India.
If the FRRO division does not allow Afghan nationals to reside in India after their visa are expired or they fail to submit necessary documents supporting the reason to live in India, the matter will be transferred to the MHA for its final decision.
The Ministry took the decision considering the unstable situation in Afghanistan to avoid possible local-level harassment of Afghan nationals.
The move comes after the MHA issued new guidelines earlier this month, mentioning the FRRO division will not be able to issue 'exit orders' or 'Leave India Notice' to any Afghan national.
"As per the order, if any Afghan national wants to live in India and he or she is not able to submit his or her document fulfilling the criteria to stay here before FRRO, the matter will go to the MHA for its final decision in case FRRO issues them 'Leave India Notice'," a senior Home Ministry official told ANI.
The official said that the move has been taken to provide us a helping hand to the Afghan nationals who are passing through the worst phase as they are not feeling safe in their own country this time.
"All Afghan nationals residing in India under any category will avail this facility," the official added.
The MHA guideline has also maintained that Afghan nationals living in India on any category of visa will have their visa extended at 'no-cost' until further orders.
Afghanistan has been in turmoil since last month as the Taliban seized power ahead of the withdrawal of the US forces after 20 years of occupation. As the Taliban seized Kabul, desperate citizens flooded the airport trying to get out.
India has been helping its nationals get out of the war-torn nation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also made it clear that the country will help Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan as well as those who are 'friends'.
The Ministry in its order on September 2 had also extended the Indian visa or stay stipulation period of foreign nationals stranded in India due to the COVID-19 pandemic till September 30.
Before exiting the country, the Ministry had said, the foreigners may apply online for exit permission on the e-FRRO portal, which would be granted by the FRRO or FRO concerned on a gratis basis without levy of any overstay penalty.
If an extension of visa is required beyond September 30, 2021, the Ministry said, the foreign national concerned may apply for an extension of visa on the online e-FRRO platform on a payment basis, which would be considered by the FRRO/FRO concerned, subject to the eligibility as per the extant guidelines.
"However, Afghan nationals already in India on any category of visa will be granted an extension of visa under guidelines issued separately for Afghan nationals."
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