Expats get MRP service

April 23, 2011

Introduced in 4 missions; 2 others in process
Bangladesh has introduced machine-readable passport (MRP) service in Singapore, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai missions as part of its effort to provide Bangladeshi expatriates with the service in its 65 missions worldwide.
The service will be introduced in Jeddah and Riyadh missions next month, considering the huge number of migrant workers in the Middle East, said Mohammad Shihab Uddin Khan, deputy director of the MRP and MRV project.
Mobile teams with expertise in MRP will be sent to foreign missions that lack manpower to provide Bangladeshi expatriates with the service.
Home Minister Sahara Khatun inaugurated the MRP project in Dhabi and Dubai missions to facilitate the MRP seekers. Each mission office can now handle a maximum of 100 applications a day which is too small against the huge number of applicants.
The mission offices will also have to replace manual passports with MRPs gradually, he said.
MRP books will be printed in Agargaon passport office in Dhaka, not any foreign offices, and then sent to mission offices abroad, said a home ministry official wishing anonymity.
The mission offices will collect particulars and biometric data of MRP applicants.
The Agargaon passport office will print passport books for mission offices, after the Special Branch of police in Bangladesh verifies the identity of MRP seekers.
At least 200 SB personnel have received training so far to do verification and put the information in the online database of the immigration department. Besides, 70 SB and DSB district offices will be provided with necessary equipment for the task, the official said.
Eight more Bangladesh missions and 14 regional passport offices in Bangladesh will soon get enough manpower and necessary equipment to issue MRPs, said the government high-up.
A project to issue MRPs and MRVs was launched at Agargaon office of the Department of Immigration and Passport on April 1 last year and now the service is available in the department’s 19 regional offices in the country.
The government last year signed an agreement with Malaysia-based IRIS Corporation Berhad for implementation of the Tk 526 crore MRP and MRV (machine-readable visa) project, which was originally taken in 1989.
A total of 190 member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) at Chicago Convention in 2002 agreed to switch to MRP from manual one by 2015.
Bangladesh will be able to meet the deadline, if the current pace in issuing MRP is maintained, said project officials.


Courtesy of The Daily Star

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