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Bangladesh, UK sign SOPs on Returns

BI Desk || BusinessInsider

Published: 01:52, 18 May 2024  
Bangladesh, UK sign SOPs on Returns

Photo: Collected

Bangladesh and the United Kingdom (UK) held their first ever Joint Working Group meeting on Home Affairs on Thursday in London at the British Home Office and signed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on Returns.

British Minister for Countering Illegal Migration James Tomlinson-Mynors KC, and Bangladesh High Commissioner in London Saida Muna Tasneem opened the JWG meeting and witnessed the signing of the SOPs between the two countries, according to a message received in Dhaka on Friday.

The Bangladesh-UK SOPs on Returns is a successor to the earlier signed Bangladesh-EU SOPs of 2017, the procedure that used to be followed before the UK's exit from the EU for returning Bangladeshi overstayers from the UK.

Bangladesh envoy Tasneem in her opening statement recalled the genesis of the value-driven diplomatic relations between the two Commonwealth countries based on the historic friendship between Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and UK's Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath.

Reaffirming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's zero-tolerance stance against irregular migration, the High Commissioner said, "Bangladesh High Commission London in collaboration with UK Home Office has been returning certain numbers of undocumented Bangladeshis for more than a decade."

She said the number of undocumented Bangladeshis in the UK is minimal at this moment, and the Bangladesh Home Office would work closely with the British Home Office with support from the High Commission.

"The good news is that Bangladesh is not even within the top ten countries in terms of numbers of undocumented nationals in the UK, and yet we needed to formalize this MoU with the post-Brexit UK," the envoy said.

Apart from signing the SOPs, the Joint Working Group on Home Affairs discussed opportunities for orderly migration including skilled and high-talent migration from Bangladesh to the UK, opened avenues for discussion on mutual legal assistance, extradition, transnational crimes and countering terrorism and extremism, as well as capacity building of Bangladesh's law enforcement agencies.

Bangladesh home ministry's additional secretary Khairul Kabir Menon and Director General of the UK's Immigration Enforcement, Home Office Bas Javid led their respective sides.

Senior representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Bangladesh, Bangladesh Police and the Special Branch, as well as representatives from Bangladesh High Commission London participated in the meeting.