BD asylum seekers in UK awaiting bad days


Staff Reporter :

The United Kingdom and Bangladesh have agreed to a fast-track return agreement, under which Bangladeshi citizens whose asylum applications are rejected will be sent back to Bangladesh. This is a significant setback for Bangladeshi students, workers, or visitors who have applied for asylum visas, as the UK is a major destination for those wishing to stay in Europe.
According to the UK Home Office, a new agreement with Bangladesh aims to speed up the removal of migrants with no right to remain in the country. In 2023, nearly 11,000 Bangladeshis entered Britain under various visa categories, with many applying for asylum within 12 months, according to a report by The Telegraph. This group includes students, workers, and visitors who arrived in the UK until March of the previous year.

At the first Joint Working Group on Home Affairs in London this week, both countries committed to strengthening their partnership and enhancing cooperation on economic, cultural, and social issues. The Home Office stated that the returns agreement would streamline the process by removing a mandatory interview for cases with sufficient supporting evidence for removal. As a result, failed asylum seekers, foreign national offenders, and individuals who have overstayed their visas will be returned sooner.

Michael Tomlinson MP, Minister for Countering Illegal Migration, said, “Speeding up removals is a vital part of our plan to stop people coming or staying here illegally. Bangladesh is a valued partner, and it is fantastic that we are bolstering our ties with them on this and a range of other issues.” He added, “We have already seen clear evidence that these agreements have a significant impact on illegal migration. Global issues require global solutions, and I look forward to working with Bangladesh and other partners to create a fairer system for all.”


The Joint Working Group also committed to facilitating legal migration through existing visa routes, tackling illegal migration with enhanced cooperation on visa abuse, strengthening data sharing, and building capacity. Additionally, they aim to develop a better understanding of their respective approaches to tackling serious organized crime.
This working group builds on the recent meeting between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the UK’s Minister for the Indo-Pacific Anne-Marie Trevelyan in Dhaka. Prime Minister Hasina emphasized Bangladesh’s zero-tolerance approach to illegal migration, while Minister Trevelyan thanked her for supporting the new returns agreement.
Last year, 26,000 people who had no right to be in the UK were returned to their home countries, a 74% increase from 2022. A deal signed with the Albanian government to expedite returns reduced the number of small boat arrivals from Albania by over 90%. Nationwide, increased Home Office activity to tackle illegal migration saw enforcement visits rise by 68% last year, and arrests more than doubled. Detentions have commenced ahead of the first flights to Rwanda in 8 to 10 weeks. The government’s Rwanda plan aims to deter vulnerable migrants from making perilous journeys across the Channel and ensure those who come to the UK illegally cannot stay.
Reaffirming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s zero tolerance stance against irregular migration, High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem said, “Bangladesh High Commission 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.”

“The good news is that Bangladesh is not even within the top ten countries in terms of numbers of undocumented nationals in the UK, and yet we need to formalize this MoU with the Post-Brexit UK,” she said.

According to The Telegraph, visas grant permission to stay in the UK for a set period, usually just a few months. However, by claiming asylum, applicants are highly likely to remain indefinitely due to the Home Office facing huge obstacles to deportation, including human rights laws. Official documents leaked last month show a record 21,525 asylum claims made by visa holders in the year to March 2023, a 154% annual rise. This means one in every 140 people who entered on a visa went on to claim asylum. Over the past decade, more than 102,000 applied to stay after initially being allowed in temporarily. Pakistan had the largest number of claimants, with nearly 17,400 cases, followed by Bangladesh at 11,000, India (7,400), Nigeria (6,600), and Afghanistan (6,000).