Bangladesh and the UK hold Joint Working Group on Home Affairs

Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor,Shottobani

London: Bangladesh and the United Kingdom held their first Joint Working Group meeting on Home Affairs on 16 May 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. They 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 the UK’s exit from the EU for returning Bangladeshi overstayers from the UK.

In her opening statement, Bangladesh High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem reiterated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s unwavering commitment to zero tolerance stance against irregular migration. She emphasised, “Bangladesh High Commission London, in collaboration with the UK Home Office, has been returning certain numbers of undocumented Bangladeshis for more than a decade. This commitment is why the number of undocumented Bangladeshis in the UK is minimal at this moment. The Bangladesh Home Office will continue to work closely with the British Home Office with support from the High Commission. The reassuring news is that Bangladesh is not even within the top ten countries in terms of the number of undocumented Bangladeshis. Yet, we needed to formalise this MoU with the post-Brexit UK, showing our dedication to this issue.”

Aside from the significant signing of the SOPs, the Joint Working Group on Home Affairs also paved the way for positive outcomes. It discussed opportunities for 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. These discussions are a testament to the fruitful collaboration between the two nations.

The Joint Working Group meeting was led by Khairul Kabir Menon, Additional Secretary of the Security Services Division, Ministry of Home Affairs from the 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, and Bangladesh High Commission London representatives participated in the meeting.

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