Govt to fine foreigners overstaying visas, working without permit
The government has decided to impose fines and progressive tax on a daily basis on foreigners for overstaying their visas and working illegally in Bangladesh, according to a decision taken at a meeting on Tuesday.
The move comes centring allegations that many foreigners are working here in spite of having no work permit, which is illegally. Many allegedly take up jobs here using tourist and multiple entry visas to evade income tax.
As of December 31, 2023, there were over 100,000 foreigners legally present in Bangladesh, according to a press statement by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) citing data from Special Branch of Bangladesh Police.
Three-fourth of them came here on tourist visas. Only 14,400 were here on employment visas and nearly 10,500 for business and investment purposes.
Indians accounted for the highest number of nationals from a single country, nearly 37,500, followed by Chinese nationals (11,400).
Many foreigners coming to Bangladesh with tourist or business visa get three months' time to prepare documents and apply for work permit, said Mohammad Tofazzel Hossain Miah, principal secretary to the prime minister.
"We have taken a decision to reduce the time for documentation to one month," he told a Bida meeting on February 6.
There is a provision in a 2006 visa policy enabling a person to leave Bangladesh paying a Tk 30,000 fine even after overstaying their visa year after year, Miah was quoted as saying in the Bida press statement.
"…we have decided to introduce rule to impose fine and progressive tax for visa overstay," he added.
He said foreigners would be able to apply to Bangladesh's missions abroad for work visas.
The missions will forward the applications to the Special Branch of Bangladesh Police for the completion of verifications in seven days, he added.
The government is deprived of taxes when foreign nationals work without a permit, he pointed out.