MINSK, 10 October (BelTA) - More than a million people have been included in Belarus' travel ban blacklist, Belarus' First Deputy Interior Minister Ivan Podgursky said when taking questions from MPs, BelTA has learned.
The official informed that “the blacklist includes 1,142,000 people whose entry into Belarus is prohibited or undesirable.” He specified that most of the entries have been made by Russia, with more than 138,000 banned by state authorities of the Republic of Belarus: 16,000 by the Interior Ministry, 15,000 by the KGB, 7,000 by the State Customs Service. “The Interior Ministry has included more than 5,000 foreign nationals for non-compliance with administrative penalties such as fines,” the official informed.
In 2018, more than 4.8 million foreigners crossed the state of Belarus, over 5 million left. In H1 2019 those were 2.3 million and 2.4 million respectively. In January-September of this year, more than 120,000 people visited the tourist-recreation zone Brest – Augustow Canal. About 4,500 Latvians visited Belarus on cross-border movement permits as part of the small border traffic program with Latvia.
On 10 October Ivan Podgursky presented the amendments to the law on legal status of foreign citizens and stateless persons to the members of the House of Representatives. The bill is aimed at forming a positive image of Belarus and simplifying the entry rules. One of the amendments suggest minimizing the cases when foreign nationals are included into the travel ban list if there are no objective and reasonable grounds to believe that their actions could cause significant harm to the interests protected by the law. Ivan Podgursky also highlighted the provisions providing for the possibility of entry of foreigners to Belarus, who had previously received a fine during their stay in the country and did not pay it on time because they did not know about. He described it as an important amendment to the bill. Such a category of citizens will be allowed into Belarus upon presentation of the documents on payment of a fine or upon a foreigner's guarantee that he will pay the fine as soon as possible. The bill had its first reading.