BCN asks US diplomat to ease visa processing

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The Bhutanese Community in the Netherlands (BCN) has raised the issue of family separation and difficulties in getting visas by the resettled Bhutanese to visit their ailing parents and relatives in the United States of America.

It mentioned the issued during a meeting with US Diplomat Lisa Kierans at Hague based US Embassy on May 21, a press statement issued said.

The BCN delegation with US diplomat Lisa Kierans at Hague based US Embassy (Picture : BCN)

“Our team was very warmly welcomed at the embassy premise by the diplomat who also holds the post of Deputy for Political Affairs, Office of the Political and Economic Affairs at the United States Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands,” said BCN President DP Mainali.

He further said, “After expressing deep gratitude and appreciations to the US government for continuously assisting Bhutanese refugees and consistently resettling more than 50,000 Bhutanese refugees as of now, the team strongly put forward the instances where resettled Bhutanese in the Netherlands were repeatedly denied US visas even when they wanted to visit their ailing parents resettled in USA.”

The BNC team appealed the US authorities to treat the cases of resettled Bhutanese as special, as resettled Bhutanese have enough bases where they could prove that they won’t stay back in USA but return back to the Netherlands once they visit their families there.

“US visa regulation law is uniformly implemented all over the world and resettled Bhutanese cannot be taken as special cases”, the statement quoted Kierans as saying.

“One needs to demonstrates that they have solid evidences like that of properties, jobs, business or studies that could compel them to return back to the Netherlands, but just words and prayers cannot be taken as the basis of evidences,” she added.

The statement also mentioned that she even shared her own experiences when she was a visa officer during her posting at Brazil and United Kingdom.

“It is easy to deny visa in three minutes rather than to listen long story and later deny visas to the visa applicants,” she explained to the BNC team.

That was in response to BCN concern that Bhutanese applicants complain for instantly rejecting visa by the visa officials even without allowing them to explain their cases.

Kierans informed BCN team to ask the relatives in USA to mobilize supports from local politician and gets their congressman to write straight to US consulate in Amsterdam, according to the statement.

“That way the visa officer will think twice before rejecting visa in three minutes and has high chances to get visas,” added she.

She further asked Bhutanese to work hard like that of Indian in their respective resettled countries and prove their efficiencies by starting business, joining politics and becoming parliamentarian and other things that could earn reputations.

“This way the US will always be ready to issue visas as and when they want to visit US and thus newly resettled Bhutanese could also be listened and taken their visa application seriously.”

Meanwhile, Kieran expressed her deep sympathy and respect towards such Bhutanese but expressed her inability to help them get visa  as it is the matter of US law of the land.

“She took note of our issue seriously and will transmit the information and our concerns to the concerned visa officials in the Embassy’s visa section in Amsterdam,” added President Mainali.

The BCN team during an hour and half talks with the US Diplomat also showed a power point presentation on the genesis of Bhutanese refugee problem and their struggle for human rights and democracy in Bhutan since 1990.

Most of 350 Bhutanese who were resettled in the Netherlands have their family separated and were resettled elsewhere specially in United States of America.

According to Dutch immigration law one has to continuously stay in the country legally for five years with a diploma of Dutch integration course to acquire a Dutch citizenship.

“With a Dutch passport one can travel without visas in all resettling countries. Resettled Bhutanese here are issued a refugee travel document by which they could travel all over the world except Bhutan provided visas are issued by the concerned countries,” Mainali said further.

He also lamented that numerous attempts by many resettled Bhutanese to acquire visa to visit their parents and other families in US were denied visas on the ground that they won’t return back.  “Resettled Bhutanese in The Netherlands whose parents were resettled in USA and are ailing have to live a life full of anxiety and stress.”

The BCN delegation team that called on the US diplomat included Ram BK Chhetri, D.P. Mainali, Hem Rizal, Bhanu Gurung and Binita Gurung.

(With input from our correspondent in the Hague)

26644 COMMENTS

  1. Ram Daju and DP Bhai,

    You have raised wonderful issue to the US official. Indeed, America is America. She has presented herself too reserved. Appreciate the efforts of BCN. Thank you BNS for posting this news. Indeed, BNS is an exiled media hub, and we are proud of it.

    Suresh Chhetri
    USA

  2. Dear All Bhutanese,
    US Diplomat Lisa Kierans said further asked Bhutanese to work hard like that of Indian in their respective resettled countries and prove their efficiencies by starting business, joining politics and becoming parliamentarian and other things that could earn reputations.
    I being a resettled bhutanese in Australia, I strongly support the words of US Diplomat. Let us think back in refugee camp, we used to say ‘ we dont have plateform to progress, we are deprived from everything thing and many more’ . Now we are resettled in developed countries where we can explore, excel, let us try to keep the bhutanese image glorious so that world will respect us.

  3. why people raise all these nonsense questions? five years is not a big deal. common work and prove that you are efficient. it is not good to beg rights or anythings all the time. never complain now. people get resettled in the respective countries in their own will not by enforcement. why cant we show patience. go to school for five to six years. get your good degrees and talk about visiting to some others countries. now you are under the law of some countries. talk on the situation of people in camps. that makes sense but talking on visiting usa or other countries after some months or a year there in Netherlands is useless. please dont act like immature kids. think before doing something twice. have you realised how many of the resettled bhutanese are going to schools for education? how many are going under drug addiction? dropping schools even in the resettled countries? has anyone raised these questions? you cant go any countries as if you are going for picnic.

  4. BCN Team,
    Efforts are great. But understand this: “whether you think Fair or Unfair, law of the land must be respected especially by immigrants like us”. If those laws need changes, let the citizens decide or you wait until you become the citizen to exercise the same power. Unlike Bhutan, you don’t need the land tax receipt of 1958 to exercise your citizens’ rights.
    I have repeatedly asked fellow Bhutanese in exile not to be “loose canons” but exercise caution before start shooting issues or agendas. I am afraid, we are only belittling ourselves by barking louder in others’ countries than in Bhutan. Please exercise caution, and do not beg Embassies to change their rules for you. Do not complain, just work hard, be fair, open and honest. Bring the sense of Unity, Hope and Progress among yourselves and also with the host countries/embassies, bring optimism and inspiration in your own people. Live by rule and show by example.
    Dick Chhetri

  5. Dik dai,
    What do you mean barking louder in other countries than in Bhutan?
    It sounds discouragement for anyone doing something good in resettled countries.
    The issue is genuene in general.

    Bye

  6. Dear Dick,
    Listen here: BCN team never asked or demanded to change US law, they were only trying to bring US diplomat into confidence and assuring that Netherlands based resettled Bhutanese will return back if they were issued visa (not US passport) to visit their ailing parents. Netherlands based Bhutanese have valid travel documents (refugee passport) and all countries issues them visa including USA if they have jobs. Resettled Bhutanese can also get jobs but since they were settled permanently unlike other refugees, they wanted to stay with social security and pursue training and education before they settle with a job. In the Netherlands everybody will get vacation and the money to travel during vacation. Resettled Bhutanese also gets enough money and one month time to travel anywhere they wanted.
    Dickji, 5 years is a lot of time to wait before they gets Dutch citizen byt which they dont need visa to visit US. Ailing parents in US may not survive till then. You cant even imagine such situation because you never has to face such situation.
    Dickji, What did you do when Jigme Y Thinley was preaching GNH is your own adopted land? What did you do to provide comforts and prevent cultural shock to the resettled Bhutanese in USA? Please let me know the instances where you put into practice your vision on various issues that you propagate in google groups and forums.
    BCN Team has presented the genesis of Bhutanese refugees and their struggle for Human Rights and Justice with the US Diplomat. Did you ever met US diplomat in your whole life for the purpose of advocating Bhutanese refugees and human rights issues?
    Dickji- We are fed up with your frequent suggestions and advices. We were optimist in the beginning with your comments but now we lost that.

    Please do not criticize others work if you yourself cannot do anything.

  7. Ya Bed is Right !
    Let us think in matured way, you are not permitted to US is not the great deal atleast at this stage. We are lacking behind because we have begging nature not progresing which is bad luck for us. Let us work hard atleast for 10 years and get succed in respective fields then go back to same embassy for visa, I rekon you would be granted with limited questions.
    Tashi delek

  8. Dear Everybody,

    Thank you so much for your suggestions, recommendations, positive comments and criticisms. BCN accepts your feelings and take it as a lesson for future actions. Sometime even if we try for the best, we may end up with the bad results. In my feelings, it is not bad to store unsuccessful results for future improvements or references than to through or looks very negatively but good to make a critical analysis with logics on it so that other people can use our analysis as an steeps for future improvements.

    I am personally ok to read all reactions but in some of the points, I have dissatisfaction. For example it would be nice if people don’t turn their criticisms that end up with personal attacks. We should stop these types of ill practice. Next, BCN is not requesting USA embassy to change their national policy for Bhutanese in Netherlands, we tried to explain our difficulties of family split and visa problem to visit them. Someone has mentioned in his/her comments above that why not we work hard for few years rather than begging visa?? Here we should understand that our community is not only consisting of young and progressive people. We should keep in mind that our community has old and unschooled people who even have less chance of getting Dutch citizen after five years. It is not that Bhutanese are doing nothing here; we are trying our best to make progress although it is not fast like in US.

    Next, Dear dick daju, you have written good points that country law can’t be changed and that is true. BCN team actually do not want to change their rules. Please be clear with this. Considering the views, opinion and ideas from our community members in The Netherlands, we have requested US diplomats to understand our case or give us ideas. We received good suggestions and ideas from diplomats that have convinced BCN to transfer message to our communities. We will convey this message to our communities in the upcoming meetings. I hope Dick daju will understand more from the comments made above by D Sharma but I have no idea who is D Sharma looks fake name (not appreciated???).

    My final suggestions are please take our effort not only negative but as a lesson for future. BCN effort, we think is fruitful but if you think fruitless or low-priced might be a good lesson for other Bhutanese communities in the core countries not to repeat the same mistake again. We can learn from mistakes and still please if you have any further suggestions, let us know from our communities email address ([email protected]) with real name and contact number so that BCN can contact you for further discussion or suggestions. BCN always welcome your suggestions and new ideas for betterment of our small communities. We are ready to work together and accept others comments and criticisms with logic. Even if you want to make criticism through BNS site, we have no problem but give your real name so that we can contact you for further suggestions.

    With Regards,
    DP Mainali
    BCN President

  9. Neresh and bed,
    bed as your name u will never weak up if your thinking capicity is realy like this in negative. Go on sleeping on bed mrs Bed, you will do nothing on this world and Mrs neresh you are a blind having two eyes . your are nothing better then a dog who runs after hearing a sound in the mid night. go on support the fals one so and so……….as per your capicity

  10. Dear all,
    Suggestion and criticisms r welcome for better functioning in future but creating misunderstanding and disturbing others in their work is false attack to go no where.Dont teach other so as to do what you feel.Naresh and Bed
    Do what u like but dont impose others to do as u think. Dont sleep more as you slept 20 yrs in the camp.

    Tata

  11. Hello Timeout!! It sounds like you are phase out. you are right to some extent. There are many millions of people who are not as innocent as you are. your emotional support does not play a role in this western world. you are not the one who decides the fate of the people. by the way, are you in N-land? if so, work hard to build good reputation in the eye of the usa government. it is only the key factor that determines you probability of visiting your friends, relatives or many more in this country. Also, just talk on your behalf, thats fine but do not carry the message of others. There are people who are more smart than what you think. this is the world where you are not supposed to make decisions on others. be more reasonable and more authentic. thanks