The government will for the first time send machine readable passports (MRPs) to all expatriate Bangladeshis staying in different countries through private courier services, instead of diplomatic bags, from July this year. The Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) has already invited tenders for sending these passports to all Bangladesh missions abroad from Dhaka, according to sources in the home ministry and the DIP. The sources said the tenders will open from May 28. International courier services like FedEx Express, DHL and TNT Express will participate in the tender process, they added. DIP director general Brig. Gen. Md Masud Rezwan told The Independent that they have completed the tender process of sending MRPs to Bangladesh missions abroad through courier services instead of diplomatic bags, as this initiative will provide expatriate Bangladeshis with their passports within the shortest possible time.
“As per the tender clause, the private courier service that will be selected for the service has to send MRPs to Bangladesh missions abroad within three days from Dhaka,” he said. “We’ll open the tenders on May 28 and evaluate their proposals as soon as possible. Next, we’ll sign an agreement with the selected courier service by this month,” he added. Rezwan also said that they will be able to send MRPs through a private courier service by the end of June or early July. “We hope that all Bangladeshi expatriate will get MRPs within seven to ten days after passport enrolment,” he added.
“It takes at least two-and-a-half months for a Bangladeshi expatriate abroad to get an MRP through the diplomatic bags,” he said. The DIP chief also said that at least three lakh MRPs are sent to Bangladesh missions abroad every month for Bangladeshi expatriates staying in different countries.
To provide these expatriate Bangladeshis with MRPs within the shortest possible time, the government has posted 15 officials in 11 Bangladesh missions abroad to issue the passports. The home ministry also plans to create 366 new posts of different categories in all Bangladesh missions abroad to issue MRPs and machine readable visas (MRVs) for the expatriates. Officials of the foreign ministry officials currently provide passports to the missions abroad. A senior official of the passport department said that at least 1.40 crore MRPs have been issued till date. MRPs were introduced in the country on April 1, 2010, to speed up clearance and improve security for travellers.