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Immigration queues may soon get shorter

Immigrat

NEW DELHI: Travelers arriving in India may no longer have to stand in long queues as the government has decided to deploy more immigration officials in all international airports.
The Home Ministry has started the process for recruitment of more immigration officials. The induction will result in reduction in queues at the airports, sources said.
There are 21 international airports in the country including at Delhi, Mumbai, Srinagar, Amritsar, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai and Port Blair.
Airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and Kochi particularly witness long queues at immigration counters during peak hours. There have been certain complaints of long queues at immigration counters at Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) in New Delhi, the sources said.
The decision for recruiting people will help in reducing work load of the existing staff, they said.
The Home Ministry has been putting in measures to ensure hassle-free entry and exit for Indians and foreigners to the country, without compromising security.
A new immigration form with less fields to be filled by a passenger has been recently introduced. The need for filling of immigration form when they are returning to the country has been also done away with.
At present, there are about 5,000 immigration officials working across the country. With new inductions, their number would be significantly increased.
The increase in the number of immigration officials will help in managing the flow of tourists which is likely to increase due to e-tourist visas.
India had last year launched e-tourist visa facility (which was earlier called ‘tourist visa on arrival enabled by electronic travel authorisation’) for more than 40 countries, including the US.
India currently offers e-TV facility to citizens of 113 countries and plans to raise it to 150 countries by March 31, 2016.
During January and May, a total of 1,10,657 people arrived on e-tourist visa as compared to 9,841 during the same period last year, registering a growth of 1,024.4 per cent.

PTI