Afghanistan Uncategorized

Afghan migrants in Pakistan decry visa renewal delays, fines

ISLAMABAD — Afghan migrants in Pakistan raised concerns about the slow or nonexistent processing of visa renewals by the Pakistani government, with some facing annual fines of $400 for expired visas.

Many migrants, unable to afford the fine, say their income barely covers daily expenses. Shirzad, who moved to Islamabad following the Taliban’s rise to power, earns 15,000 Pakistani rupees (about $67) a month. Despite applying for a visa renewal four months ago, he says his request was denied by the Pakistani authorities.

“I have been fined $400 for the delay in processing, even though my application was rejected,” Shirzad shared, adding that he has faced visa denials four times. “The police have frequently forced us to close our bakery.”

Pakistan has instituted a policy penalizing Afghan refugees with expired visas, exacerbating the challenges faced by migrants like Shirzad. Abdul Raziq, a travel agency head, highlighted the impact on families, noting, “The Pakistani government is imposing a $400 fine on each individual applying for a visa. Many applications are rejected, yet fines are levied, affecting families who have stayed for one or two years.”

The impending resumption of the deportation process for Afghan refugees by the Pakistani government in mid-April adds to the migrants’ anxieties. The United Nations and other international bodies have previously stated that the refugees being deported from Pakistan lack access to basic necessities.