African envoys call for flexible visa norms for students and diplomats in India

African envoys on Thursday made a strong pitch for making the Indian visa regime more flexible, especially for students and diplomats.

PTI May 27, 2016 08:29:22 IST
African envoys call for flexible visa norms for students and diplomats in India

New Delhi: African envoys on Thursday made a strong pitch for making the Indian visa regime more flexible, especially for students and diplomats.

African envoys call for flexible visa norms for students and diplomats in India

Representational image. Reuters

Sola Enikanolaiye, acting High Commissioner of Nigeria, said countries like China, Brazil and South Africa have an agreement with African countries which makes the visa process hassle-free.

"There is a need to grant visas of long duration to African students. At present, the visa for a four-year programme is limited for six months. As a result, the students keep going to the FRRO office which takes so much of their time and energy," he said.

Enikanolaiye also demanded abolition of visa for diplomats and service passports.

"We have such an agreement with China. We have a similar one with Brazil and South Africa," the Ambassador said.

Responding to queries, C Rajasekhar, Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) said the issue was being addressed.

"In March, ICCR had taken up the issue of African students' visa pro-actively and convened a meeting of the higher education community of India, which is the Human Resources Development Ministry, the UGC, All India Council for Technical education, Vice Chancellors, Registrars and foreign student advisors of universities as well as some of the ambassadors.

"We got Ministry of Home Affairs representatives to come to discuss the problems of Africa and to make the visa for the students co-terminus with the duration of their course. The visa manual provides for granting visa for the duration of the course for the students and it will be implemented," Rajashekar said.

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