Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Armenia, Avet Adonts states that “from now on, nationals of India will receive the entry visa to Armenia with certain restrictions.”
The issues of visa-related problems for nationals of India was raised by MP Mikayel Zolyan at the parliamentary hearings on Armenia-China bilateral waiver of entry visa requirements to be ratified by the National Assebly.
“There is a lot of unchecked rumor that there are issues between citizens of Armenia and nationals of India. What kind of issues have we had in relation to crimes committed by national of India? Is it indeed verified information? Or was it just an incident that was flared up by the media?”
Deputy Foreign Minister Adonts responded that the government of Armenia made certain clarifications to the existing visa regime with India who were entitled to receiving a visa upon arrival in the airport or other checkpoints.
“Today we have entered new restrictions which by no means minimize the opportunities of nationals of India to visit Armenia for tourism or any other reason. However, now, certain restrictions will be in place for nationals of India who simply mechanically receive a visa at the border check-points either at the airport or the borders of Armenia.”
No further clarification is provided on what exactly “mechanical visa issuance” means, and what will be “non-mechanical” from now on. Epress.am has attempted to find out whether nationals of India visiting Armenia will be required to present additional documents or not. The official information on the Foreign Ministry of Armenia states that nationals of India are required to present their passport, a photograph, visa fee receipt, a filled in application form as a mandatory list of documents, and additional non-mandatory documents, such as purpose of visit, hotel reservation etc. No additional information is available on this official website.
However, if a new regulation is already in place in Armenia, it must provide transparent guidance on requirements for visa issuance or processing, otherwise it is not clear based on what may an entry visa be rejected or any other action be taken as a result of “non-mechanical” processing of the visa application at the border check-point.
In the meanwhile, while visiting the website of the Embassy of India in Armenia, a disclaimer window immediately pops ups, reading “Advisory for Indian Nationals.” The advisory reminds that the government of Armenia facilitated the visa regime on November 22, 2017, by granting an opportunity to receive visa upon arrival. The disclaimer, however, cautions that “recently some unscrupulous travel agents have been duping Indian nationals by luring them to Armenia telling them that Armenia offers jobs up to USD 900 per month. It may be noted that ordinary jobs in Armenia offer a salary of USD 200 only.” The Embassy website also states that it is impossible for Indians to receive residence permits in Armenia and that further travel to Russia or Europe from Armenia is as difficult as from India.
It remains unclear whether the government is trying to regulate the labor market of Armenia by revisiting the visa regime with India or whether it is trying to tackle the “unscrupulous travel agencies” luring Indian migrant workers to Armenia.