Mohammad Imran assisting Bangladeshi amnesty-seekers at the embassy in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: A majority of Bangladeshi amnesty-seekers have applied for a new passport to stay back in the UAE since the visa amnesty started on August 1.

Around 5,000 Bangladeshi amnesty-seekers applied for new passports as of August 31 and Bangladeshi diplomatic missions will issue the first batch of passports next week, a top Bangladeshi diplomat told Gulf News on Monday.

“They have applied for new passports to stay back here and apply for a 6-month visa [for job search] or employment visa [for those who got new jobs]. As it takes four to six weeks to issue passports from Dhaka [capital of Bangladesh], those who applied in early August [around 200] will get their passports next week,” said Mohammad Imran, the Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UAE.

200 of the applicants are expected to get new passports next week

He said the list of passports to be delivered next week will be published soon on the websites of the embassy in Abu Dhabi (www.bdembassy.ae.org) and the Consulate General in Dubai (http://cgbdubai.org).

“We will share the list with Bangladeshi community organisations also,” the envoy said.

He urged the applicants to check the status with the missions, four weeks after submitting the applications.

Imran said, as around 80 per cent of the Bangladeshi amnesty-seekers want to stay back in the UAE, there are more applicants for passports than for emergency certificate, which is issued to those who want to go back home, but do not have a valid passport.

The missions have already issued around 1,200 emergency travel documents called emergency certificate [E.C] as of August 31 [around 700 in Dubai and 500 in Abu Dhabi]. The embassy estimates that around 100 of them have already left the UAE and others are continuing their procedures at the amnesty centres that has to issue a travel document [E.C] from the UAE authorities, the envoy said. E.C issued by the embassy is valid for three months.

If amnesty-seekers have to apply for a visa to continue living in the UAE, they should first get a valid passport.

1,200 emergency certificates issued to Bangladeshi expats as of August 31

Of around 5,000 passport applicants [around 3,000 in Dubai and 2,000 in Abu Dhabi], half of them are absconders whose passports were held by their sponsors and others have expired/lost passports.

“We expect another five thousand passport applicants during the amnesty period,” he said.

Although the embassy received a few hundred passports from the UAE authorities, most of them were expired, Imran said.

Although many Bangladeshi amnesty-seekers are trying to stay back in the UAE, some of them have reported to the embassy that they faced difficulties in getting a new job visa, he said.

Officials at the amnesty centre have confirmed that a majority of the amnesty-seekers are Bangladeshis. Around 25,000 Bangladeshis had availed of the previous visa amnesty during 2012-2013.

A large number of Bangladeshi expatriates are hailing from Chittagong area in the country and the same is the case with amnesty-seekers also, according to community leaders.

Figures

■  5,000 Bangladeshi amnesty-seekers applied for new passports
■  3,000 passport applicants at Dubai consulate
■  2,000 passport applicants at Abu Dhabi embassy
■  200 passports to be issued next week
■  80% of amnesty-seekers want to stay back
■  1200 emergency certificates issued by missions
■  100 already left UAE
■  25,000 Bangladeshis availed of amnesty in 2012-2013