ABU DHABI // A UAE government visa office has opened in Dhaka, in what many believe could signal and end to a three-year deadlock for workers’ moving to the UAE from Bangladesh.
Visas for Bangladeshis have not been issued for the past three years, except to women coming to work in domestic positions.
Three years ago, Bangladeshis arrived in droves of 40,000 a month. However, that number has since gone down to almost nothing. Bangladeshi ambassador to the UAE Muhammad Imran thanked the UAE Government for opening the new visa office last week, saying it could serve about 600 people a day.
The procedures will save on costs of recruitment, quarantine and deportation and improve customer services, he said.
Mr Imran was hopeful the visa situation would soon change.
“Things are moving in a positive direction and negotiations are underway between both countries,” the ambassador said.
“We are told that we have to wait for few more months,” Mr Imran said. He did not want to speculate on dates, but hoped that next year would open up new avenues for his people in the UAE.
“Currently, visas are only issued to female domestic help, but we hope that other categories will start getting this soon,” Mr Imran said.
There are about 700,000 Bangladeshis living in the UAE.
The ambassador said that his people are nowadays moving to countries like Oman, Singapore and Malaysia. “Our people are law-abiding and we have large numbers of professionals who are suitable for the UAE markets.”
According to state news agency Wam: “The new visa issuing centre of the Ministry of Foreing Affairs serves more than 600 people every day and uses passport authentication and biometrics such as fingerprints, eye prints and face prints.”
Ahmed Elham Al Dhaheri, assistant under-secretary for consular affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was also present at the opening.