Islamabad: Pakistan is planning to waive off Rs 40.2 million visa fees of over 2,000 Chinese nationals working on various development projects in the country under the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a one-time dispensation.
The move comes after the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad requested the Pakistani government in principle to allow Chinese nationals change their visit visas into work visas free of charge as a one-time dispensation, The Express Tribune reported on Saturday.
The embassy had informed the government that if the Chinese nationals went back to China to get their visas changed, the construction work on the CPEC would get delayed.
The CPEC, which connects China's Xinjiang province with the strategic Gwadar Port in Balochistan, is the flagship project of Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The 3,000-km CPEC is aimed at connecting China and Pakistan with rail, road, pipelines and optical fiber cable networks.
The waiver of USD 2,57,000 is planned for the 2,511 Chinese nationals, the report said.
Sources told The Express Tribune that Prime Minister Imran Khan has given a go-ahead to table the matter in the upcoming Cabinet meeting for approval.
The Cabinet had considered a summary submitted by the Interior Division on May 16 and granted approval in principle as a one-time dispensation to the Chinese nationals.
According to the policy, visas issued by missions cannot be changed for any reason in Pakistan. Chinese nationals would get extension in their visas here instead of going back after the expiry of their visas and returning on work visas.
The processing fees for the work visa in Pakistan is USD 100.