POST TIME: 1 October, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Dhaka to relax travel permit terms for MRP holders

Dhaka to relax travel permit 
terms for MRP holders

The home ministry's Security Service Division is going to relax the terms for issuing travel permits, commonly known as One Time Pass (OTPs), to illegal Bangladesh expatriates working in different Middle East countries to enable them to return home. The illegal Bangladeshis having machine readable passports (MRPs) will get the benefit of relaxed terms for OTPs, sources in the foreign and the home ministries said adding that a directive will soon be issued in this regard. Once the home ministry issues the directive, Bangladesh missions in the Gulf countries would issue travel permits to those who have MRPs, but are illegally staying in the countries concerned after expiry of their travel documents, they said.

But Bangladesh expatriates overstaying or those who have been detained in the countries concerned and do not possess MRPs, would have to get the home ministry's clearance before they can be issued travel permits, the sources added. After the entry of Myanmar citizens, known as Rohingyas, into Bangladesh in August 2017, the home ministry instructed the Bangladesh missions in the Middle East not to issue travel permits to the expatriates wishing to return to the country before getting clearance from the home ministry.

The instruction was issued on the assumption that Rohingyas from the Middle East countries might try to enter Bangladesh with Bangladeshi passports. When contacted, a senior official in the Security Service Division of the home ministry told The Independent that the Bangladesh embassy in Kuwait had informed the ministry in a letter by the counsellor (visa and passport), Md Zahirul Islam Khan, that a number of Bangladeshi expatriates, staying illegally but having MRPs, should be issued travel permit to end their harassment.

“After receiving the letter, the home ministry decided to relax its directive on the matter and would inform the Bangladesh missions in the Middle East,” he said.

Sources said a number of Rohingyas were staying in different Gulf countries, especially in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by managing to get Bangladeshi passports. Most of them were staying there illegally and a number of them were in jail, arrested by the immigration and law enforcement agencies of those countries.

When the Bangladesh missions abroad informed the home ministry about identifying the illegal people, the intelligence agencies were not able to establish their Bangladeshi nationality. Sources said a number of illegal expatriate Bangladeshis were in jails in different countries in the Middle East as of now. Over one crore expatriate Bangladeshis are living in different foreign countries.