The People’s Assembly discussed a bill regulating the entry of Arabs and foreigners into Syria and their residency, during a session on Monday chaired by Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham.
The Assembly approved items 1 through 17 of the bill, which deals with permission to enter and leave the country, issuance of travel documents, registration of Arab and foreign visitors, and residency permits.
Assembly members said that the bill must guarantee the rights, security and safety of the Syrian state, calling for harsher penalties for infringements.
They said the issue one of preservation of national sovereignty and confirmed the need to employ reciprocity when dealing with Arab and foreign countries.
Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Mohammad al-Shaar said the bill will be particularly helpful in tackling the issue of Arabs and foreigners who entered Syria illegally and had a negative effect on the current crisis. He said it will curb forgeries and fraud, regulate work residencies, and accommodate the increase in cross-border travelers and individuals requesting residencies.
He pointed out that Legislative Decree no. 29 for 1970, which the new bill will terminate, has several shortcomings in terms of fees and penalties for Arabs who violate the procedures for entering, leaving and staying in Syria.
Speaker Laham stressed the need for bills to be discussed transparently and objectively.
Laham also attended meetings of the committees for agriculture and irrigation, services, and rights of women, families and children.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer