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Sri Lanka Orders Russian And Ukrainian Tourists To Depart Amid Visa Concerns

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Sri Lanka

(CTN News) – The Ministry of Tourism in Sri Lanka has issued a directive requiring thousands of Russian and Ukrainian tourists, who have been residing in the country on extended visas due to the conflict in their home countries, to depart within two weeks starting from February 23.

According to officials, the immigration controller has notified the Tourism Ministry of the necessity for Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the nation within the specified timeframe as their visas have expired.

However, the office of President Ranil Wickremesinghe has intervened by ordering an investigation into the decision to mandate their departure.

It was noted that this decision was made without a formal cabinet resolution to revoke the previous extensions granted for their stay.

The President’s Media Division clarified that the Sri Lankan government has not yet made an official decision to annul the previously granted visa extensions for these tourists.

Sri Lanka1

Extended Stays for Russian and Ukrainian Tourists Amidst Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Following the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine in 2022, Sri Lanka had permitted extended stays for Russian and Ukrainian tourists, with approximately 300,000 Russians and 20,000 Ukrainians arriving in the country since then.

However, the current number of tourists on extended visas residing in Sri Lanka is not readily available.

Authorities explained that the initial decision to allow longer stays was necessitated by flight shortages amid the conflict.

Concerns Over Visa Abuse

However, concerns have surfaced regarding the potential abuse of tourist visas by Russian and Ukrainian nationals. Allegations include involvement in illegal businesses, the employment of foreigners, and the use of payment methods that bypass local systems.

Government Deliberations on Residency Status

The situation has evolved into a complex scenario, leading the Sri Lankan government to deliberate on how to proceed with the residency status of these tourists.

This process is ongoing, entailing careful consideration of diplomatic and logistical factors in order to reach a resolution that aligns with the evolving circumstances.


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Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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