Nepal's crackdown on illegal immigrants threatens more than 50,000 with expulsion
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - In order to fight tax evasion, Nepal announces zero tolerance for foreign workers without a valid work permit. More than 50,000 people could be expelled from the country, most of them Chinese.
On 12 January, the government announced a new, stricter policy towards foreigners who entered the country on a tourist visa, but stayed on to work illegally in various sectors, including services, banks and other businesses. Tax losses from illegal workers cost US$ 40 million a year.
Foreigners now have 90 days to regularise their position. After the deadline, those without a permit could be fined, jailed or expelled from the country. So far, only 9,920 workers have received a permit.
About 80 per cent of foreign workers are believed to be from China, this according Barun Kumar Jha, director of the Department of Labour.
The new rules on immigration are creating tensions between Beijing and Kathmandu.
Under Nepal's former Maoist government, Nepali authorities abandoned the policy of protecting Tibetan exiles, cooperating with China on a border control plan in exchange for loans.
In recent years, thousands of Chinese moved to Nepal to trade, do business and provide services.