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June 11, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka has deported over 400 foreign nationals so far this year for overstaying their visas and working in the island illegally, the island’s immigration chief said Monday. Most of the deportees were of South Asian origin and had entered Sri Lanka on tourist visas, Controller of Immigration and Emigration, P.B. Abeykoon, said. The figure compares to a total of 600 foreigners who deported in 2006.

Last week, the department arrested 11 foreign nationals for illegally working in shops and hotels around the capital Colombo using tourist visas.

“They will be deported and blacklisted,” the official said, adding that the actual number of those overstaying their visas could be more than 10,000.

Foreigners get a 30-day visitor visa on arrival in Colombo as part of a government initative to promote tourism. Under new laws introduced in February, those who overstay their visas now face fines between 25 to 100 dollars.