The government is planning to bring back Bangladeshis illegally staying in Europe. The European Union (EU) has already allocated 12.5 million Euros as an incentive for repatriation efforts.
“We want Bangladeshis staying illegally in Europe to come back home on their own volition," a government official in Dhaka said.
"We have requested the EU to provide a financial incentive to these illegal Bangladeshi residents under a development model," the official said. "We want these people to rebuild their lives in Bangladesh."
The EU has already allocated funds.
People who travel to Europe and stay there illegally do so for financial reasons. “They (illegal Bangladeshis) make a serious effort to earn as much as they can during their stay,” the official added.
An agreement signed last year between Bangladesh and EU allows EU members to deport illegal Bangladeshis under certain terms and conditions.
Bangladesh proposed to bring the process under a development model, which would address issues such as rehabilitation, funds for providing employment opportunities and skill training.
The government official said: “EU has allocated 6.5 million Euros for this purpose, and it recently allocated another 6 million Euros for funding the proposed development model.”
Implementation of the agreement
In September last year, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali signed a deal with European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos in New York, for bringing back Bangladeshis living in Europe illegally.
The first joint working group meeting on this agreement was held in Brussels.
Addressing the issue, another government official said: “At least 40 Bangladeshis have returned home after the deal was signed. Germany has made a list of at least 100 people.”
Under this agreement, the European Union will not be able to send back more than 100 Bangladeshis in the first six months.
When asked whether there is a list of Bangladeshis illegally living in Europe, the official said: “We requested the list from them [EU] several times, but they are yet to provide it.”
The insider described a recent incident: “Last month in Denmark and Norway, 12 people were detained and questioned. A decision has been taken regarding those who were identified as Bangladeshis among them.
“Before deporting a Bangladeshi national, the person’s identity must be verified while in Europe. All administrative and legal formalities must also be taken care of by the local authorities.”
Member nations of the European Union issued resident permits to around 26,000 Bangladeshis in 2014, 21,000 in 2015 and 25,000 in 2016. However, only 4,100 permits were issued to Bangladeshis from January to June 2017.
According to the European Union data, around 200,000 legal Bangladeshi residents were living in 27 EU countries excluding the UK, until December 2016.
Another statistics show that more than 8,200 Bangladeshis in 2016 and more than 8,500 in July 2017 entered Italy illegally.
This article was first published on Banglatribune.com