Dhaka moves for visa exemption deals with 32 countries

Jamal Uddin
Published : 06:00, Dec 23, 2018 | Updated : 15:56, Dec 23, 2018

Dhaka is working to finalize visa exemption agreements with 32 countries.Over the last few years Bangladesh has implemented bilateral agreements of visa exemption with quite a number of countries and is working to finalize such agreements with 32 other countries.

Home ministry officials have confirmed that diplomatic and official passport holders will be eligible to enjoy the perks of these agreements.

After 2009, Bangladesh signed bilateral agreements of visa exemption with Indonesia, Chile, Turkey, Laos, Belarus, Cambodia, India, Philippines, Malaysia, Kuwait, Japan, Russian, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the government has sanctioned34 divisional and regional passport offices to be built in 31 districts, and they are currently under construction. Not only that, the manpower in the Passport and Immigration offices have been increased from 397 to 984.

Moreover, a new personalization complex is being built at the capital’s Uttara. The center will print passports and distribute to passport issuing offices and Bangladeshi missions abroad. 

Four passport processing centers have been opened at the Bangladesh Secretariat and Dhaka Cantonment as well. The headquarters of the Immigration and Passport offices have also been equipped with its own personalization center, data center and disaster recovery center.

Since 2010, the Bangladeshi government has started providing Machine Readable Visas (MRV) and Machine Readable Passports (MRP) are being provided since 2010. Also, nine immigration posts and six visa cells have been provided with additional manpower.

Around 1.55 million foreigners visited Bangladesh from 2015-2018, given that the incumbent government has made it easier for foreign nationals to obtain a visa.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that so far the Bangladeshi government has issued over 3 million MRPs and over 100,000 MRVs which has brought in around Tk 132 billion in revenue and the immigration has been made more efficient by establishing e-gates and e-visas.

He told Bangla Tribune that the government was working to make people’s lives easier.

A round 67 foreigners were given Bangladeshi citizenship on account of their spouses or special contribution to the country and 13,405 Bangladeshis were cleared for dual citizenships.

Sources said that the Bangladeshi Citizens Act 2015 has been drafted in order to protect the rights of Bangladeshis living abroad.

The government is also working to bring back the Bangladeshi citizens illegally living in countries that are part of the European Union. From 2015-18, approximately 13,000 Bangladeshis have been brought back to the country.