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Bangladesh - World wide - December 26, 2023

Bangladeshis heading irregular migration in European countries

Batan Biswas: Bangladeshis have been among the top countries for irregular migration to Europe for the past few years. That is why Bangladesh often comes up in the headlines in the international media. The pictures of Bangladeshi youths traveling to Europe in the hope of a comfortable life are featured in the news.
The journey of Bangladeshis to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, the Balkans or Iran-Turkey continued in 2023. Even though many reached the desired country, many were detained and deported. There have also been fatalities.
4th in Mediterranean
Until December 5, 2023, about 153,000 migrants from different countries have crossed the Mediterranean Sea and entered Italy. Bangladeshis are on the fourth place in the list of top countries.
According to the information published by the Ministry of Interior of Italy, a total of 12,100 Bangladeshis were able to come to Italy by crossing the dangerous path of the Mediterranean Sea.
Detention and deportation to Romania
After arriving in Romania, many migrants try to enter Schengen countries by crossing the country’s border irregularly. On the 12th of last month (November 12), Romanian police arrested 24 Bangladeshis while crossing the border hiding in a cargo lorry. Various images of misery emerge in the news. Besides, the country has later deported or repatriated many such detainees at various times. 51 Bangladeshis have been sent back in July alone.
According to information from Romania’s General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI), more than 5,500 asylum seekers from different countries applied for asylum in the European country in the first six months of 2023. Maximum 2,099 of them were Bangladeshis.
Repatriation from Libya
Unable to reach Italy through the Mediterranean, a large part of the migrants traveled to Libya. When they came to this war-torn country, they were subjected to various tortures. In addition to the brutality of human traffickers, the human rights situation in the country’s detention centers has been raised by organizations working with migrants.
The government has started returning the Bangladeshis detained in Libya this year. On December 05, 263 such irregular Bangladeshi citizens were repatriated from Libya to Bangladesh. On November 28, 143 irregular Bangladeshi nationals detained at the Ainjera Detention Center in Tripoli were brought back in the same process. 110 people were brought on November 30.
According to IOM’s calculations published in March this year, 21,653 Bangladeshis were in Libya in December 2022. That year, 4,448 Bangladeshis were prevented from sailing. Two thousand Bangladeshis were imprisoned in different detention centers of the country.
Death march also continued
Bangladeshis who crossed to Europe had to endure many death pains. In 2022, seven Bangladeshis tragically died due to cold in the Mediterranean while reaching Italy. Even in 2023, the news of death of Bangladeshis trying to reach Europe was in the media.
Bangladeshi youth Tapas Sarkar lost his life while traveling from Greece to France in August. Tapas are looted in the mountains as you cross the high mountains from the Albanian border into Montenegro in the sweltering heat. Thinking that his death was certain, the brokers and others left him behind. Two friends who were with him informed the relatives of the incident by sending a video.
At the beginning of the year, another Bangladeshi youth named Tanil died at the border on his way from Iran to Turkey. According to the information provided by the family, he decided to go to Greece with his friends after failing to get a permanent job in Iran. But they got news that he died on the way.
Even if the news of the death of these two people reaches the family, it is not possible for many. Because the identities of those who die or go missing at sea are often unknown.
Bangladeshis in Greece
Greece allows irregular Bangladeshis to become regular from January 11 this year. The deadline for this application was 30 November. Through this, the Greek authorities give the opportunity for a five-year Greek residence permit.
The governments of the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in Dhaka on February 9, 2022 to speed up the process of repatriating irregular Bangladeshis in Greece and open the door to regular immigration. Athens has taken this initiative of regularization in its continuity.
According to information provided by the Bangladesh Embassy on October 2, the number of initial registrants was more than 10,000. Of these, at least 6,000 received legalization from the Greek authorities at the end of the second phase.

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