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Nestled in a southern Asian region between India and China lies Bangladesh, a country with multiple large cities and a beautiful landscape, making it an attractive option for remote workers and digital nomads considering a move abroad.
Employers may also have their eye on Bangladesh, as the country is reporting continuous steep economic growth and a laser focus on developing its digital economy and the digital workforce.
While the country represents a new frontier for both employees and employers, it also ushers in challenges associated with immigration to Bangladesh. For example, employees who plan to move there will need to obtain the necessary Bangladesh work visas to ensure they and their employers comply with the local laws.
In this article, you will learn about several types of Bangladesh work visas and permits. In addition, you will learn about the various visa eligibility requirements that both employees and employers will need to meet and how you can apply for a work visa in the country.
Types of work visas and permits in Bangladesh
There are several types of Bangladesh work visas available, and the type you apply for will depend on a variety of factors, including how long you plan to live and work in Bangladesh and the type of work you'll be doing in the country.
Although employees must submit work visa applications themselves, there is significant involvement necessary on the employer's part as well. For example, international employers may choose to relocate existing employees to Bangladesh or hire new employees moving there and will need to ensure they are legally entitled to operate in the country and sponsor the employee if necessary.
Employment or work visa
The employment permit or work visa is the general type of employment visa that most individuals planning to live and work in Bangladesh short-term will need to apply for. However, this visa is not ideal if you plan to live and work in the country long-term.
You may be eligible for a Bangladesh employment or work visa if the type of work you're coming to the country to do includes the following:
- You're applying for an unpaid (volunteer) position with a non-governmental organization (NGO) that is registered in Bangladesh
- You have been offered a position with a government body, including working for a foreign government, working for a local Bangladeshi government agency, or being contracted out to an organization that works directly with a government agency
- You are being hired in an advisory role or brought to Bangladesh to perform a specific job
- You are currently employed by a local Bangladesh organization that is operating in either the public or private sector
Employment or work visas are valid for a three-month period, although the visa holder can request to extend their visa for up to an additional three years. Depending on the type of employment or work visa you're issued, the number of times you're allowed to leave and return to Bangladesh may be restricted. Regardless, this visa only entitles the visa holder to enter Bangladesh for a maximum duration of 90 days at a time.
Unlike a traditional employment or work visa, an individual can apply for a Bangladesh visa when they plan to invest in the country, trade, or participate in Bangladeshi commerce. However, like an employment or work visa, the individual must be sponsored by a local employer for their visa application to be considered.
Bangladesh business visas are valid for a 12-month period, although the visa holder can request to extend their visa for up to an additional three years. With a business visa, the visa holder can stay in Bangladesh for no more than 60 days at a time; with a business visa extension, the maximum period of time the individual can stay in Bangladesh may be increased to six months.
An investment visa is a specific type of Bangladesh work permit that entitles a foreign national to live and work in Bangladesh while investing in the local economy. An individual may be eligible for an investment visa if they plan to do the following in Bangladesh:
- The individual intends to invest in a commercial or industrial entity, not in the public sector
- The individual intends to invest in or manage an organization or business in Bangladesh
Investment visas are valid for a 12-month period, although the visa holder can request to extend their visa for up to an additional five years. Depending on the type of investment visa you're issued, the number of times you're allowed to leave and return to Bangladesh may be restricted.
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Requirements for Bangladesh work visa and permit
Whether you're an employee planning a move to Bangladesh or an employer interested in expanding your global team and hiring employees living or relating there, both parties are required to ensure an employee's Bangladesh work visa is approved.
While employees can apply for a work visa on their own in some countries, Bangladesh requires significant involvement from the employer to prove that the individual has employment lined up prior to entering the country. This means workers cannot receive a Bangladesh work visa and then find a job once they've entered the country, but rather they must be sponsored by an employer in order to be eligible.
Although the specific requirements for a Bangladesh work visa may vary slightly based on the type of job to be done, you will need to meet the following requirements to receive a work visa in Bangladesh:
- A valid passport with at least two unused pages that will remain valid for at least six months beyond the duration of your stay in Bangladesh
- Two additional recent passport photos that meet the following requirements:
- The photos must be 35 mm by 45 mm in size
- The finish of the photo paper must be matte
- The background of the photos must be white
- Your face must take up at least 80% of the photograph
- Your face and ears must be visible, free of hair or glasses covering it (it is acceptable for headgear to be worn if related to your religious identity)
- You must have a neutral facial expression
- You must book a return flight that proves you plan to leave Bangladesh by the time your visa expires
- Proof from the employer that they have offered a job in Bangladesh to a foreign national
- Multiple letters from the employer indicating why the employee is being brought to Bangladesh, including:
- An authority letter that indicates the employee is entitled to perform their job duties on behalf of their employer
- An invitation letter that indicates the employee is being offered a job that meets the following requirements:
- Employment details
- Must include company name, stamp, and employer signature
- Must include the reasons for employee sponsorship
- Must be properly addressed to the relevant government body
- A cover letter that indicates the employer is applying for a work visa on the employee's behalf that meets the following requirements:
- Must feature the official company documentation, including employer letterhead, signature, and company seal
- Must include essential information about how long the employee will be staying in Bangladesh
- An official employment contract that states the type of work the employee will be performing and how long the employment contract is set to last
- Proof of education or licensure, if necessary
In addition to gathering all of these required documents to apply for your work visa, you will also need to meet the following Bangladesh visa requirements:
- You must have the ability to return home once your visa application period ends
- You must not have a criminal history (you may be required to include a police clearance certificate with your visa application to Bangladesh)
- You will be expected to prove you are healthy enough to be eligible for your visa
- You will need to prove you can financially afford to live in Bangladesh for the duration of your visa
- You will be expected to indicate you have a genuine desire to live in Bangladesh
How to apply for a Bangladesh work visa
As you expand your global team or attempt to live and work in foreign countries, ensuring you or your employees obtain the correct work permits is essential.
Individuals and employers will need to work through one of three Bangladesh immigration agencies, depending on their business sector:
- The NGO Affairs Bureau manages Bangladesh work visa applications for the nonprofit sector.
- The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) manages Bangladesh work visa applications outside the Export Processing Zone (EPZ).
- The Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) manages Bangladesh work visa applications within the EPZ.
How you apply for a work visa in Bangladesh will depend on which agency you work through and the type of visa you're applying for, but it will typically include the following steps:
- The employer may be expected to place an ad locally before being able to hire an international candidate.
- The employer submits the employee sponsorship request, including all relevant documents, to the appropriate Bangladesh immigration agency.
- The employee submits their electronic visa application, including all relevant documents and fees, to the appropriate Bangladesh immigration agency.
- Upon arriving in Bangladesh, the employee must apply for a Bangladesh work permit from the appropriate immigration Bangladesh agency.
- Once the work permit has been approved by the Bangladesh immigration agency, it is sent for final clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Application processing time
The amount of time it takes to process a Bangladesh work visa will depend on factors like the type of visa you're applying for and which agency you work through. However, a visa can be processed in as little as four business days.
Planning to hire or work in Bangladesh? Here's how Skuad can help
If you're an employee interested in moving to Bangladesh, you will need to obtain the correct work visa and permit to do so legally. In addition, employers will need to ensure not only that their employees obtain these permits but that they are also legally entitled to hire any employees who move there.
This means employers will either need to establish a Bangladesh entity to compliantly hire employees in the country or partner with an employer of record like Skuad, who can hire employees living in Bangladesh on your behalf.
If you're ready to start hiring in Bangladesh, reach out to Skuad today to see how we can help you grow and manage your international team.
Below is a list of frequently asked questions about receiving a work permit in Bangladesh.
How much is a work permit in Bangladesh?
Bangladesh work permits cost different amounts, depending on the type of permit you receive. For example, a Bangladesh work visa has a fee of BDT 5,000 (equivalent to roughly $48), while a Bangladesh investment visa has a $460 (roughly BDT 48,373) fee.
How long does it take to get a work permit in Bangladesh?
The length of time it takes to get a Bangladesh work permit varies, but it may be processed within five business days.
How long can a U.S. citizen stay in Bangladesh?
An American citizen can live and work in Bangladesh as long as their work visa remains valid. This period will vary based on the type of visa received and whether or not the visa holder has applied for an extension.
How can I get a work visa for the USA from Bangladesh?
If you're living in Bangladesh and want to work in the United States, you will need to obtain the necessary work and living entitlements to do so. To learn what is required of you to make this move happen, visit your nearest U.S. embassy in Bangladesh.
Can a foreigner work in Bangladesh?
A foreigner can legally work in Bangladesh as long as they receive the necessary documentation. Bangladesh has several types of work permits, and the type you receive is based on the type of work you'll be performing and the business sector in which your employer operates.