By Abdul Karim Goni :: British Curry Awards Founder Enam Ali MBE has said that moving British visa office from Dhaka to Delhi is quite saddening for me and also discourteous for the Bengali Community in the UK. He said this in a press briefing held in East London on 24 February. An influential figure in the area of diplomacy in the UK, Enam Ali said that, he is campaigning to return the visa office to Dhaka and urged everyone to run campaigns from their own perspectives. British Bangladeshi community leaders have already joined the campaign in response to Enam Ali and emphasised on the importance of this uncompromising event. Community and business leaders who addressed at the press briefing included BBCC President Mahtab Chowdhury, Greater Sylhet Coucil (GSC) Patron and former Chairperson K M Abu Taher Chowdhury and former President of Society of Bangladesh Solicitors Abul Kalam and others.
Editor of Spice Magazine, Enam Ali also said that around 21,000 UK visas are issued for Bangladeshis every year and a same number of people travel to the UK during the same time period. This has been running for years and in one stage, visa service event started from Sylhet. However, from last year, applying for British visa in Dhaka has ceased. Now it needed to be applied in Delhi. As a result, number of refusals has been increased and a huge number of people are suffering for the delay in receiving. On the other hand, the British High Commission in Dhaka do not acknowledge this problem and maintaining that visa service is working within its timeframe though Delhi is not replying to emails, just using their auto reply.
He also said that he has contacted British High Commission and visa services in Dhaka and in Bangladesh. Dhaka office does not agree with the fact that people are suffering due to the transfer of visa office. As Delhi is not replying to emails, delay is taking place in obtaining visa and number of cases of refusal has also been increased. As an example, he mentioned that some of the invited guests received visa after the event has already been held, as a result the visa turned into useless. Some businessmen also received their visa at the very last minute when applied to join World Travel Mart, and reached the UK on the very day of the event.
Enam Ali MBE also said that it is evident that genuine visa applicants are being refused by the Delhi office.
People, who have already visited the UK once, are being refused as well. He also said that Bangladesh enjoys a good diplomatic and business relationship with Great Britain. UK is third highest investor in Bangladesh. Britain conducts around two billion pounds worth of business there. A same amount of products are being imported in the UK. Britain stands in the top rank as a donor country too. UK provides two hundred million pounds worth of aid to Bangladesh. British Bangladeshis also play a significant role the business sector in this country. Only restaurant industry itself has 3.5 billion pounds turnover at present. As a result, we need business visa, we need student visa, family visa, entertainment visa and so on. People of Bangladesh need to come to UK, for the prosperity of the UK and for the development of Bangladesh. This cannot be stopped. The nation who fought for language, the nation who fought for their independence, will not agree to this insulting or discourteous proposition.
He urged everyone to strengthen the campaign and join the movement of bringing back visa office to Dhaka from Delhi.
BBCC President Mahtab Chowdhury said that some of the FBCCI delegates could not get the visa. This is not only harmful for the economy of Bangladesh, it has also caused damage to the British economy.
Solicitor Abul Kalam said that he was informed that the complexity in issuing a visa has been increased unnecessarily and people are not getting visa on time.
GSC leader K M Abu Taher Chowdhury expressed his gratitude towards Enam Ali for leading the campaign. He assured Enam Ali and other leaders that his organisation will work tirelessly to bring back the visa office to Dhaka and start a signature campaign soon.