Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) recently published a Circular on 29.05.2023 relating to the permission of establishing the Foreign Commercial Office, visa recommendation, and work permit for Foreign Experts in Bangladesh.   In this Circular, a guideline has been provided in respect of the Terms and pre-conditions of appointing a Foreign Expert in the Branch office, Liaison Office, Representative Office, and project office in Bangladesh. In this writing, a summary of the appointment of a Foreign Expert in Bangladesh has been discussed:

Appointment of a Foreign Expert:

Generally, Local workers will get preference over other foreign experts. A Foreign Expert can only be appointed for positions that require special knowledge, expertise, skill, special knowledge & Degrees, e.g. Technician, Engineer, Designer, Experience in the particular position, etc., and the required experience is more than 5 years. The Ratio between Locals and Foreign Experts for Industrial establishments will be 10:1 (during the execution of the project) and 20:1 (during regular operations). In other cases, the ratio should be 5:1 (before the operation) and 10:1 (during the regular operation).  However, the Intra ministerial Committee may change the ratio from time to time. Moreover, the Work Permission of Foreign Experts should only be issued in favour of the citizens of the Countries having a diplomatic or commercial relationship with Bangladesh. However, before appointing Foreign Experts, the concerned establishments have to ascertain whether the equivalent positions of similar industries are operating with the Local experts or not. In this regard, proper Advertisements for the concerned positions with an application deadline of 15 days (at least), should be published in well-known Newspapers or any famous job platforms so that the Local Experts can obtain the opportunity to participate. The Companies are also directed to provide all detailed information relating to the Local Applicant’s educational background, qualifications, personal details, etc. to the BIDA.  

Work Permit from BIDA:

Any person who is appointed as a Foreign Expert or any investor residing in Bangladesh is required to obtain prior work permission from Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) before working in Bangladesh. Moreover, a relevant type of Visa is also required to be issued by the Bangladesh Mission with the recommendation of the BIDA in favor of the Foreign Expert. The Appointing Organizations along with copies of the Visa & Passport bearing the Arrival Stamp and 5 years work plan ensuring the transition of technological knowledge among the Locals, can apply online for the Work Permission of the Foreign expert within 15 days of his arrival. However, a Work permit will not be provided to any Foreign Expert for joining any Proprietorship Organization owned by the Local. Please note that no salary, allowance and other financial benefits of the Foreign Experts cannot be sent outside Bangladesh without the permission of BIDA/the Intra-ministerial Committee.

In case of the expiration of Work tenure, the foreign expert has to obtain clearance from the previous organization. In no case, the Foreign Expert can leave Bangladesh without clearing his tax liabilities against the salary, allowance, and canceling their work permits. Failure to comply with the procedure, Legal actions will be taken against the Foreign Experts. Moreover, if the Foreign expert leaves Bangladesh without clearing his tax liabilities, the Appointing Organizations shall be liable to pay the unpaid Tax liabilities of the Expert.

Extension of Work Permit:

Primarily, a year of work permit will be given to the Foreign Expert. The Appointing Organizations can lodge an application before the Concerned Authority/ Intra ministerial committee for the extension of the work permit. Subject to compliance with the conditions and clearance from the Security Service Division of Bangladesh, the Committee may extend the validity of the work permit up to 2 years. In this regard, this application should be filed 2 months before the expiration of the Work permit. Although employment of a foreign expert for more than 5 years shall be discouraged, the concerned authority upon its discretion can allow such employment in case of necessity.

Conditions and cancellation of Work Permit:

Any Conditions or information of the Work Permit can not be amended without the permission of the Concerned Authority/Intra ministerial committee.  The work Permit can be cancelled at any time if the Foreign Expert is found to be involved in any anti-social activities or anything threatening the Law and Orders of the Country.

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