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Dhaka Tribune

Coronavirus: Middle Eastern countries will extend Bangladeshi workers’ visa

On arrival visas suspended for China, South Korea, Iran and Italy in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, says foreign minister

Update : 12 Mar 2020, 09:40 PM

Middle Eastern countries, which currently restricted outsiders’ entry in view of the coronavirus situation, have assured Dhaka to extend the visa tenures of Bangladeshi workers, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said.

“The visas of the Bangladeshi workers in the Middle East countries will be extended after the coronavirus situation becomes normal,” he said emerging from a meeting with envoys of five countries — Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, Kuwait and United Arab Emirate (UAE) — at the State Guest House Padma on Thursday evening.

Many Bangladeshi workers were virtually stranded as they came home on leave while quite a few others could not go to several Middle Eastern countries for joining their new jobs despite having visas, in view of the restricted entry. 

Of the five countries, Saudi Arabia has suspended Umrah and tourist visas, Qatar and Kuwait have restricted entry from 14 and 10 countries respectively, including Bangladesh, while Iraq and the UAE did not close their border for any nation.

Momen said medical certificate explaining free from coronavirus will not be required for the Bangladeshi workers to enter those countries.

Urging the Bangladeshi expatriates in different countries not to visit the country right now, the foreign minister said: “It is better to stay at the countries where you are now and obey the rules of the respective countries.

If you face any problem, please contact with the Bangladesh mission at the respective country.”

Noting that Bangladesh has suspended on arrival visas for four nations — China, South Korea, Iran and Italy — in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, Momen said: “We are closely monitoring the global situation. We would extend the suspension for other nation if necessary.” 

Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad, secretaries of health and civil aviation and tourism and Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora were present during the briefing, among others.

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