The European Union (EU) yesterday sought measures for repatriating 80,000 illegal Bangladeshi migrants while Bangladesh urged for scopes to regularise them considering their contributions to economies and the fact that not all went there illegally, some became irregular for expired visas and none were involved in any criminal activity.
A six-member EU delegation led by Christian Leffler, deputy secretary general, Global and Economic Issues, European External Action Service, made the call during talks with Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on arriving yesterday morning on a three-day visit, says meeting sources.
Amidst growing concern over illegal migration, the first-ever EU-Bangladesh Migration Dialogue is scheduled to be held at state guesthouse Padma today in the morning with Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque leading the Bangladesh side in discussing “all aspects of migration management”.
Asaduzzaman sought help in sending back over five lakh Myanmar nationals, or Rohingyas, and stranded Pakistanis, and the list of nationals without legal papers, pointing out that repatriation is a lengthy process, said meeting sources.
In an earlier meeting with Expatriates' Welfare Minister Nurul Islam at the capital's Probashi Kalyan Bhaban, the delegation urged preventing illegal migration and exploring legal channels.
“They informed us that several thousand Bangladeshis are staying in some countries especially the UK, Italy, Germany and Greece illegally,” a senior ministry official told The Daily Star.
The ministry officials said the EU team assured providing assistance to streamline migration to check illegal migration.
“They informed us that they want to assist to reintegrate our returnee migrants. They also assured us of exploring opportunities for legal migration,” said Additional Secretary Jabed Ahmed.
In line with commitments undertaken under the 2001 Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development, the 7th EU-Bangladesh Joint Commission was held in Dhaka on November 11, 2015.
Both sides had agreed on a number of concrete steps, including developing dialogue on all aspects of migration management, foreign ministry officials said.
As the chair of the ninth Global Forum for Migration and Development, Bangladesh has recently convened the first of its planned thematic workshop on “Migration-Connectivity-Business” in Bangkok.
The other delegation members from Brussels are Maria Castillo Fernandez, Raffaella Iodice, Dana Spinant, Emmanuel Cabau and Silvena Pesta.
EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Pierre Mayaudon, Frederic Maduraud and Mario Ronconi of the EU delegation to Bangladesh will join the visiting team at the dialogue
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