Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Green card



There is strong evidence that several senior government officials from important ministries and state institutions have become permanent residents in the US, New Zealand, Canada and Europe. Their numbers are increasing, especially after the introduction of the Diversity Visa (DV) scheme by the US government. At least a dozen senior bureaucrats have taken advantage of their positions. Diwakar Pant from Nepal Legal Reforms Commission (NLRC) and Arjun Prasad Shrestha from the Ministry of Water Resources are already green card holders. Shrestha, who recently came from the US after a year, is already in a hurry to go back. "Once you're a permanent resident you have to return to the US every year and I'm having problems adjusting my leave of absence," says Shrestha, who adds that speed is of the essence if he is to receive benefits from the US government as a green card holder. Most officials who have dual citizenships, like Shrestha, are on leave but still associated with the government. Another report says a group of government officials have become residents of New Zealand. A year-and-a-half ago, six under-secretaries left for New Zealand on a study leave and have been extending their official leave ever since. Although the issue of whether a Nepali citizen be a permanent resident in two countries is still unclear, many officials are not worried since they have the security of an American DV.

It is difficult to estimate the number of government officials who are 'aliens' through these processes. "Once they take leave, it's not necessary for them to give details about their whereabouts. So, we will never know who is a green card holder," says Ek Narayan Aryal, a government official. The government is unsure about what kind of legal steps can be taken, especially when most relevant government units profess ignorance. More than the legality, there is the moral issue of Nepali officials swearing oaths of allegiances to other countries. It merely proves they are interested in living in Nepal only if it comes with high promotions, attractive salaries and cushy benefits. Otherwise they're off to foreign shores. "How honest do you think these officers are?" questions Madhab Poudel from the Law Ministry. "They are disloyal to Nepal."


LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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