Exit Rush: Bangla embassy under pressure.

Bonny Mascarenhas 

The Bangladesh Embassy has temporarily stopped accepting applications which expedite the exit of its nationals who have been living illegally in the Kingdom.

The Tribune had earlier reported that the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) in conjunction with the embassies of foreign countries – including the Arab and non-Arab embassies – had initiated procedures aiming to send home over 20,000 expatriates who reside without a legal work visa.
The combined efforts of the LMRA, embassies and other related authorities in the Kingdom effectively reduces official procedures and trips made by an illegal worker to obtain the necessary documents allowing him/ her to leave Bahrain.

But while the LMRA procedure is benefitting the Bangladeshis in trouble, the process has put a strain on the mission’s human resources, affecting its day to day consular and other services, Muhammed Ibrahim, First Secretary at the embassy said, “Each day we receive over 100 applications. We can realistically process only about 30 applications every day.

 Also after the paperwork is cleared by the relevant authorities, the onus is on the embassy – from taking the applicant’s documentation and submitting it to the LMRA and other authorities to escorting the applicant to the airport at the time of deportation, the embassy has to do it all.” 

The painstaking process has put pressure on the embassy and hence it has called for a temporary stop to the service, he explained. “If we keep accepting applications, we will be in trouble. The applicants come  back every other day to check if their papers have been cleared. Even if we tell them that we will call, they keep coming.” 

The embassy has received 1,300 applications till date, of which 1,000 have been forwarded to the LMRA. “The authority has cleared 300 people, who can leave after they pay their penalty. 150 people have not got their records registered with the LMRA. They will be asked to report to them with passport or travel pass, and submit their fingerprints and electronic signature. The remaining 550 applications are still being cleared,” Ibrahim added.

In order to facilitate those who have submitted their documents, the embassy has decided to clear up its back log and then attend to another batch. 28 people of the 300 have paid their fines and are expected to leave within a week. “The LMRA has given 15 days from the date it stamps its no-objection,” Ibrahim said.
 The embassy will call 30 people every day, get their remaining paper work cleared and ensure the applicant leaves the Kingdom. Once the 1,300 have been cleared it will resume accepting applications.