Foreigners arrested for overstaying visa
Fourteen foreigners were arrested after breaching conditions in their
on-arrival tourist visas, which they obtained at the port of entry in
Sri Lanka. Immigration and Emigration Department, Investigation Unit
Head, Assistant Controller W. Devendraraja said sleuths had arrested the
illegal immigrants as they had violated Sri Lankan visa regulations.
According to him six of the immigrants, from a neighbouring South
Asian country had been arrested while working at several jewellery shops
in Sea Street, Pettah. Two others had been taken into custody while they
were working at a leading restaurant in Colombo.
Foreigners engaged in business or employment while on tourist visa
are not permitted under the Sri Lankan Immigration and Emigration Laws.
Devendraraja also added that six others also of South Asian origin
had been arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport while trying
to flee to an European destination armed with forged visas, which they
had obtained in Sri Lanka after arriving on visit visas.
According to Devendraraja the arrested are to be deported subsequent
to investigations and also blacklisted preventing their re-entry to the
According to authorities most of these illegal immigrants take
advantage of the friendly Sri Lankan 'On Arrival' tourist visa scheme,
where the country offers such visas to foreign nationals from 84
countries at the port of entry.
However, imposing restrictions have been difficult considering its
impact on tourism, knowledgeable sources said. According to Devendraraja
his unit, during 2009, arrested 345 visa violators out of which 253 were
The Investigation Unit arrested over 400 foreigners for overstaying
and engaging in illegal businesses and employment in 2006, while in 2007
and 2008 more than 400 illegal immigrants were arrested and deported
According to authorities considering the constraints, the Immigration
and Emigration Department has taken alternative avenues to detect
abusers such as develop a comprehensive Data base, a detection unit at
the BIA and steps to increase islandwide raids.
Those found guilty are to be deported and blacklisted.
The latest arrests were made on the instructions of Chief Controller
for Immigration and Emigration P.B. Abeykoon under the directions of
Assistant Controller William Devendraraja. Officers P.M.S.Bandara,
K.K.Sarath De Silva and S.Yashodaran took part in the raids.