Supervisory authority of foreign investments and businesses in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) asked all foreign companies and business entities, such as the branch/liaison/representative offices, to provide it with information about their foreign employees in order to obtain required services from them.

Operating business by foreign entity without registration and subsequent permission from BIDA is illegal in Bangladesh.

More strict and frequent inspections should be expected after issuance of repeated warnings for enforcement of laws against illegal employment in Bangladesh by various government authorities of Bangladesh such as the visa, tax authorities of Bangladesh.

The services provided by the said authority include approval to set up foreign companies and business entities such as the branch/liaison/representative offices, visa recommendation, issuance of work permit for foreign employees, record changes and renewal of the approval, violation of any conditions and outgoing repatriation of funds to name a few.

Detail information about foreign employees must the submitted to the authority in a prescribed form. Otherwise, none of their services could obtained, the notice further states. The Executive Chairman of BIDA said that the move has been made to bring the foreign employment under regulations.

Many foreigners are living and working in Bangladesh on different types of visas violating the laws of the country because employment paid or unpaid is prohibited without the employment visa and work permit issued by the concerned authority of Bangladesh. Other than employment type of visa stamp reads “employment paid or unpaid is prohibited”.

Officials said that there was no complete database on foreign employees currently working in the country’s different business sectors including readymade garment (RMG) sector, the largest employer sector of foreigners in Bangladesh. The industry insiders opined that thousands of foreigners are engaged in the RMG sector, including garment factories, buying houses and branch/liaison/representative offices of global buyers, importers and brands.

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Mrs. Ivonne Stein is a German Legal Advisor with nearly two decades of professional experience both in the private sector and government institution. She gained professional skills in Frankfurt, Zurich, London, New York and Brussels before moving from Islamabad to Dhaka. She advises foreign companies doing business in and with Bangladesh in compliance with the local legislations, labour, social and environmental standards working towards implementation of the relevant UN and ILO conventions as well as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Mrs. Stein can be reached by email at to[at]

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