Govt feels pressure as countries want return of undocumented nationals: FM

The government is facing ‘pressure’ at this time of crisis due to coronavirus as four to five countries including the Maldives asking them to take back undocumented nationals.

“We’ll take steps case by case considering the ground reality,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday without naming other countries.

But he said four to five countries including the Maldives have reached out to them to take back undocumented Bangladeshis.

“Maldives said they (undocumented Bangladeshis) have nothing to do now since their tourism has stopped.”

“We are under pressure to some extent. All the countries are under pressure at this situation,” he told reporters after a meeting with Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad.

Dr Momen hoped that Bangladesh will not be in a ‘big trouble’ considering the relations with those countries.

Steps are being taken to further strengthen the relations with them, he said.

He said he had a phone conversation with his Maldives counterpart who conveyed the situation about the undocumented Bangladesh nationals.

The Maldives Foreign Minister highlighted the downfall of tourism business and closure of restaurants there and assured the Bangladesh Foreign Minister of taking well care of the documented nationals.

The Maldives initially urged the undocumented nationals to get registered. "We don't think all will return," he told reporters.

He said they have also written to various countries thanking for the initiatives taken so far to fight COVID-19 and extending supports to Bangladesh missions abroad and helping Bangladesh nationals abroad.

Bangladesh also shared the economic situation of the country due to coronavirus with foreign countries, he said.

“We will face the challenges together. I must say each country is sympathetic to us”.