ISLAMABAD: The British government has softened its visa policy for Pakistan to give more opportunities to Pakistani nationals and businessmen to visit the United Kingdom.“We want the brightest and best Pakistanis to come to UK,” said Minister for Immigration Damian Green at a press conference with Interior Minister Rehman Malik here on Tuesday.
Sayeeda Warsi, a member of the UK parliament, was present on the occasion.
Mr Green said that business visas would be issued in five days and normal visas would be granted between eight and 10 days.
However, he made it clear that there was no tolerance for illegal immigrants based in UK and strict action would be taken against them.
Pakistanis, especially students, faced a great deal of trouble in acquiring UK visa last year because of strict policy of the British government.
There were visa cases in which UK authorities took as long as six months for completing the process.
Ms Warsi said she always received a warm welcome here and it was a pleasure for her to come to Pakistan.
She said that Pakistanis based in UK, United States and Europe always raised the issues concerning their country.
“Overseas Pakistanis are the real strength of this nation and want to work more for the welfare of their people and prosperity of the country if they are provided with conducive and secure environment,” she said.
Mr Malik said a special cell had been set up in collaboration with police, Federal Investigation Agency and Coast Guards to address complaints of UK-based Pakistanis.
“The UK-based Pakistanis will register their complaints with this cell through email and telephone and strict action will be taken against persons found responsible,” he said.
He said that well-trained staff would register complaints about illegal immigrants, forced marriages, drug peddlers and land-related issues of UK-based Pakistanis with this cell. In reply to a question, he made it clear that any accused apprehended either in Pakistan or UK would not be handed over to the host country without going through legal and judicial process.
He asked people to point out agents who betrayed them and made false promise of sending them abroad through illegal means.
“There is zero tolerance for illegal migrants and they will be dealt with an iron hand,” he said.
Mr Malik said that joint efforts in collaboration with Iran and Turkey were under way to bust gangs of agents who send people abroad illegally.