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Bangladeshis told to obtain machine-readable passports.

RUSH: Bangladeshis stand in line for consular services at their embassy in Riyadh on Sunday. (AN photo)

Riyadh: MD Rasooldeen

The Bangladesh Embassy renewed its call on Sunday urging its countrymen to get machine-readable passports (MRP) as quickly as possible.

"Although the deadline for the issuance of such passports has been set for November 2015, we do not want a rush at the last moment," a senior official from the Riyadh mission told Arab News on Sunday.

There are some 1.5 million Bangladeshi expatriates in the Kingdom and they have to get their documents processed before the deadline.

Nearly 1,000 Bangladeshis line up daily at their embassy to get machine-readable passports (MRP) and for such consular work as passport renewal, alterations and additions of new names following child birth.

Najmul Islam, Bangladesh consul-general in Jeddah, said that 300 applicants queue up daily for consular services, which includes many for the MRP.

He said that the missions in Riyadh and Jeddah have requested the expatriates either get their MRPs from the Kingdom or from Dhaka when they go on vacation.

The new MRP is modestly priced at SR125 for workers, while professionals have to pay SR425. It contains 48 pages.

Former Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni flagged off the MRP scheme at the consulate in Jeddah and at its embassy in Riyadh last year.

The official explained that the large crowds at the embassy were there not only to renew passports, but also for other consular works, such as change of professions, change of civil status and inclusion of their children in the passports.

To cope with the rush, he said the mission has requested its embassy officials to help the consular department to speed up the work.

He recalled that around 750,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers had benefited from an amnesty offer for illegal workers to correct their status by the Saudi authorities.

Around 400,000 undocumented workers' passports were renewed and issued, while around 350,000 workers, who were at risk of becoming undocumented, were able to correct their status.

"The Riyadh mission had made arrangements to process applications," Anwarul Islam, who got his new machine-readable passport at the embassy, told Arab News. He said that he got his passport within three weeks from the time he had applied.

Wahid Mia praised the services rendered by embassy officials in facilitating the issuance of the new passports. "Despite the large rush, embassy officials were courteous while offering their consular services," he said.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:7SAUD
Date:May 26, 2014
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