European Commission threatens to limit visa for Bangladeshis


European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has threatened to ‘limit visas’ to Europe for travellers from Bangladesh if there was no action by Dhaka on irregular migrants, reports UNB.

In a letter to Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni on Tuesday, Juncker also promised to ‘pressure Bangladesh’ to take back its migrants, since the ‘vast majority of them’ are ineligible for international protection, report international media on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Bangladesh in principle decided to take back its irregular migrants from Europe after proper verification of their nationality.

Bangladesh has also agreed to sign the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) with the European Union (EU) on their return from the EU countries.

However, Bangladesh wants to take time instead of fixing a deadline in completing the process to make sure the verification process is done properly and transparently, a senior official told UNB.

An unofficial source said some 80,000 to 93,000 Bangladesh nationals are living in the European countries in an ‘irregular’ or ‘undocumented’ state.

Bangladesh and the EU had an in-depth discussion on migration during the eighth Joint Commission held recently in Brussels.

The Bangladeshi delegation provided at the meeting their amendments to the draft SOPs on the return of irregular migrants from the European Union, which were submitted to them in June 2016.

The European Commission has pledged to offer Italy a further €100m in funding to manage the migration crisis in the central Mediterranean, and threatened to impose visa restrictions on Bangladesh unless the South Asian nation speeds up the readmission of illegal immigrants from Italy, reports The Financial Times.

Juncker it was setting up a special ‘contact team’ in Brussels to coordinate with Italian authorities. “We would like to reaffirm the Commission’s determination to stand by Italy in these challenging times and respond promptly to any solidarity requests that the government may formulate in the weeks to come,” Juncker was quoted as saying.

The extra €100m in funding, on top of nearly €800m already pledged, is intended to help Italy host the migrants and process asylum applications in a timely way.

The EU has also offered extra help in managing the return of immigrants selected for deportation, which has been a big logistical and legal struggle for Italy.

Source: Prothom Alo