Abu Dhabi: A group of 29 Bangladeshi expatriates, who were stranded since arrival at the capital’s airport, were all permitted entry on Wednesday.
As Gulf News had reported earlier, the stranded men had said they all had valid UAE residence visas, negative COVID-19 test results and ICA approvals for their re-entry into the UAE, but were held back at the airport upon arrival on Tuesday morning.
“We have been working to ensure their wellbeing from the start and are happy to note that all 29 were allowed to enter. They received PCR tests at the airport, tested negative and were granted entry,” Mohammad Abu Zafar, Bangladesh’s Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News.
Ibrahim Khalil, 42, was one of the stranded expats who had flown in on a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight. Khalil has been employed for 16 years with a catering company in Abu Dhabi. He said he had initially been worried about his status.
“I left on an emergency on February 21. My mother had passed away. The leave was scheduled till March 25, but I was unable to return due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Finally, when I heard that flights had resumed, and I received the ICA approval, I decided to come back. Having cleared all the airport checks in Dhaka, I did not expect to get stranded when I reached the UAE,” he said.
Khalil said he was taken with the rest of the group for COVID-19 testing on Tuesday evening.
“We were then told to await results, and assigned hotel rooms and meals. Finally, in the early hours of Wednesday morning, we were granted entry,” he added.
“We were so happy to hear that the situation had been resolved for all the passengers and grateful to the authorities concerned,” said Abdul Mannan, a Bangladeshi trainer who had been in contact with the passengers.
More than 70 passengers who had arrived in Abu Dhabi on Friday on a Biman flight had not been granted entry-approval and were been sent back the following day.
“Fortunately, the 29 passengers from Tuesday’s flight were granted entry. In addition, all 17 Bangladeshi passengers who arrived on our flight on Wednesday were able to clear immigration,” said N.C. Barua, regional manager at Biman.
“Until the end of this month, we only have four flights scheduled per week — two inbound and two outbound. In the meantime, we are awaiting clearer directions from UAE authorities on entry regulations,” he added.