July 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department has imposed visa restrictions on Myanmar and Laos for not accepting expatriates who've been deported from the United States, officials said this week.
The Department of Homeland Security said Myanmar and Laos "have denied or unreasonably delayed accepting their nationals" who have been ordered removed from the United States. As a result, U.S. travel visas for government officials in those countries will be restricted, and the restrictions could be expanded if the nations fail to cooperate.
The first category of visas to be restricted are B1 and B2, which are temporary visas used for business and travel.
As of now, the U.S. Embassy in Rangoon, Myanmar, will discontinue all B1 and B2 non-immigrant visas for officials at the Director General level or above from the Burmese Ministries of Labor, Immigration and Population and Home Affairs, as well as their immediate family members, with limited exceptions.
The U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, Laos, has discontinued the issuance of all B1, B2, and B1/B2 non-immigrant visas for officials at the same level at the Lao Ministry of Public Security, as well as their immediate families.
Restrictions have also been placed on all A3 and G5 non-immigrant visas to individuals employed by Lao government officials, with limited exceptions. These visas are usually used for domestic workers and assistants of government officials.
"The decision to sanction a recalcitrant country is not taken lightly. DHS makes significant efforts, in collaboration with the State Department, to encourage countries to accept the prompt, lawful return of their nationals who are subject to removal from the United States," DHS said in a statement. "Those efforts include diplomatic communications at the highest level of government."
Both Myanmar and Laos are on the recalcitrant country list, which consists of nine nations that refuse to take back citizens deported from the United States, Voice of America reported.