Zimbabwe detains Chinese nationals caught using fake visas

Harare –Three Chinese men have been arrested in Zimbabwe for allegedly using fraudulent visas to enter the country, the state-run Herald daily reported Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, the visas were from a visa book stolen from Zimbabwe’s Immigration Department.

Yan Xiao Hua, He Huiju and Huang Jia Xing were arrested upon arrival at Harare International Airport on Sunday and are awaiting deportation.

The trio’s lawyer Charles Chinyama, however, said his clients were innocent victims of fraud.

"Our clients applied for Zimbabwean visas while they were still in China. They engaged services of an agent, Bo Liung, who promised to process the visas on their behalf for a fee.

They duly paid the required fees to Mr Bo Liung and they were later advised that their applications for visas had been successful and their passports were returned with visas," he said.

Bo Liu has already been deported from Zimbabwe on related offences.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has tightened residency requirements for foreigners, telling investors wishing to settle in the country to show proof of personal funds amounting to US$1 million before becoming eligible for permanent residency, private radio station Radio VOP reported Wednesday in Harare.

Private radio station Radio VOP reported Wednesday that Zimbabwe’s Department of Immigration now also requires a US$500 non-refundable processing fee from foreigners upon submission of an application for a permanent residency permit while US$2,500 would be paid when the licence is issued.

Zimbabwe’s immigration regulations allow local companies to employ foreigners under temporary work permits.

Such permits are only issued by the Department of Immigration upon application by the company, which should provide proof that the requisite skill cannot be sourced locally.

Foreigners are only permitted to work within the capacity for which their specific permits were issued.

Their spouses and children may reside in Zimbabwe provided that they do not take up employment.

Zimbabweans are currently up in arms over the influx of Chinese and Nigerian business people who have taken up most of the shop space in the country’s main towns and cities.