Bangladesh and the UK hold first-ever Joint Working Group on Home Affairs and sign SOPs on Returns

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Bangladesh and the United Kingdom held their first ever Joint Working Group meeting on Home Affairs on Thursday in London at the British Home Office and signed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on Returns. British Minister for Countering Illegal Migration James Tomlinson-Mynors KC, and Bangladesh High Commissioner in the UK Saida Muna Tasneem opened the JWG meeting and witnessed the signing of the SOPs between the two countries.

 

The Bangladesh-UK SOPs on Returns is a successor to the earlier signed Bangladesh-EU SOPs of 2017, the procedure that used to be followed before UK’s exit from the EU for returning Bangladeshi overstayers from the UK.

 

Bangladesh High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem in her opening statement recalled the genesis of the value-driven diplomatic relations between the two Commonwealth countries based on the historic friendship between Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and UK’s Conservative Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath. Reaffirming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s zero tolerance stance against irregular migration, the High Commissioner said, “Bangladesh High Commission London has been returning in collaboration with UK Home Office has been returning certain numbers of undocumented Bangladeshis for more than a decade. That is why the number of undocumented Bangladeshis in the UK is minimal at this moment, and the Bangladesh Home Office would work closely with the British Home Office with support from the High Commission. The good news is that Bangladesh is not even within the top ten countries in terms of numbers of undocumented Bangladeshis, and yet we needed to formalize this MoU with the post-Brexit UK.”

 

Apart from signing of the SOPs, the Joint Working Group on Home Affairs discussed opportunities of orderly migration including skilled and high talent migration from Bangladesh to the UK, opened avenues for discussion on mutual legal assistance, extradition, transnational crimes and countering terrorism and extremism, as well as capacity building of Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies.

 

The Joint Working Group meeting was led by Khairul Kabir Menon, Additional Secretary, Security Services Division, Ministry of Home Affairs from Bangladesh side, and Bas Javid, Director General of Immigration Enforcement, Home office from the UK side. Senior representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Bangladesh, Bangladesh Police and the Special Branch, as well as representatives from Bangladesh High Commission London participated at the meeting.

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