|বাংলাদেশ ওভারসীজ সেন্টার, সিলেট|
Bangladesh Overseas Centre, Zindabazar, Sylhet.
(Immigrant Welfare Service)
Unemployed youths from these parts of the world first started leaving home for jobs on British ships as early as a century ago. Thousands of them served and died in the two world wars, while many of our surviving seamen settled in Britain and America. They later called their relatives and friends to work in those countries, particularly in Britain which was then desperately in need of foreign workers to rebuild its war-torn economy.
But the beginning of the seventies our population over there stood at about one hundred thousand, who turned out to be a major source of foreign exchange earning for Bangladesh. They played a vital role during our liberation struggle and their donation of £376,586.00, immediate after the war of liberation, was, in fact, the first foreign exchange receipt in our exchequer, as independence of the new country marked the emergence of an economy without any foreign exchange reserves. Further, depleted food grain stock and failing crops, due to unprecedented floods, hit an all time low in our production creating serious unemployment in the country.
In the circumstances Bangladesh was frantically searching for employment for its surplus manpower. All eyes were focused on employment abroad, particularly, to the oil-rich Middle East, which was then in need of a large number of expatriate workers. Thus the scramble for employment in the Middle East started in 1976. Craze is perhaps a euphemism to denote the combined effects of euphoria and anxiety that the idea of foreign employment has generated among the unemployed youths of Bangladesh.
As a result, today there are about 5.5 million Bangladeshis working in nine Middle Eastern countries, namely Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Iran and Libya. Besides those, where the number of Bangladeshi expatriates are considerable are in U.S.A 600,000, United Kingdom 550,000, Italy 150,000, Other European Countries (Greece, German, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands) 100000, Singapore 325,000, Canada 100,000, Japan 50,000, Malaysia 7,00,000, Australia 70,000, Korea 20,000.
Within a short span of a couple of decades, the impact of foreign remittances by Bangladeshi nationals abroad have percolated through the whole spectrum of economic and national life of our country. Beginning with a paltry amount of Tk 10 crore (100 million taka) in 1972 the size of remittance from abroad reached at about 12.16 billion US dollar in 2011. At present Bangladesh receives remittance more than 1 billion US dollar per month.
But they are bedeviled by many a problem both at home and abroad. The spectre of racism abroad and the scimitar of anti-socials at home haunt them constantly. They are the objects of all sorts of extortion and exploitation. Particularly, when after prolonged years of toil and turmoil in the unfriendly and unwelcome environments abroad they return home they often find themselves in an equally unwelcome atmosphere, in as much as quite often their personal safety and security become a major problem.
There are persons who have lived and worked in a foreign country for periods as long as forty years but who have never reached the stage of making up their minds whether or not to stay there for ever. They have made no noticeable attempt to adjust to the changing values and attitudes, remaining aliens in the psychological sense of the term. Back home they are often found to be in a bewildered state of mind owing to neglect, misbehavior, extortion, harassment and hostility, resulting in a sort of psychological estrangement from their own motherland too.
In the circumstances, as a first step, we must do our utmost to create a sense of belonging and security upon them that we all- the Government and the people-are with them in their noble mission of earning valuable foreign exchange for the impoverished exchequer of our country as well as bringing in happiness for their families and friends.
With this end in view, Mr. Mohammed Foyez Ullah, the then Deputy Commissioner, Sylhet, in cooperation with Bangladesh Overseas union, a voluntary organization of the Bangladeshi diasporas created a Trust under the name and style “ Bangladesh Overseas Centre” on 2nd September 1978.The Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh donated a piece of land measuring0.18 acres at Zinda Bazar in the heart of Sylhet city to set up a multistoried building to translate into action the objects of the Bangladesh Overseas Centre.
The construction work of the proposed building commenced on 2nd October,1978 and having been completed a three storied complex initially was inaugurated on 09th March,1982.
What is BOC?
It is an Immigrant Welfare Service, a trust dedicated to the welfare of overseas Bangladeshis, Provides Advice and representation in immigration and rehabilitation of the Overseas Bangladeshis. BOC is the only Immigrant welfare service of Bangladesh giving legal advice, assistance, representation, and other services to Overseas Bangladeshis free of charge. It provides free advice to persons with rights of appeal against refusal of their applications, complete visa application forms for eligible applicants intend to join, visit family members overseas, helps pensioners and widows of expatriate Bangladeshis to get pensions and benefits from abroad, assists victim overseas Bangladeshis.
We provide advice and assistance to overseas Bangladeshis, their dependants, family members, relatives and friends. Also we help foreign nationals visiting or living in Bangladesh. We are independent from the Government. Our immigration advice and other services are provided confidentially.
Main objects of the Trust:
Board of Trustees:
We provide advice and assistance regarding;
· Passport facilities
· Appeal of refused visa applications.
· Widow benefits
· No visa required for dual citizens of Bangladeshi origin
· Fruitful utilization of remittances
· Rehabilitation of Overseas Bangladeshis
· To support victim Overseas Bangladeshis
Among the 8 million Bangladeshis living abroad about 2 million hail from Sylhet region. Many of them visit Sylhet every year, often they become victims by unscrupulous elements and we assist them with the help of the local administration. Two organization under the local government namely ‘ Expatriates complain Cell’ and ‘ Expatriates welfare Desk’ headed by DIG of police, Sylhet range and Deputy Commissioner, Sylhet respectively are very helpful to the overseas Bangladeshis. All assistance and advices are provided free of charge.
Request for registration:
To improve services provided for the welfare of expatriates living home and abroad Bangladesh Overseas Centre requests all overseas Bangladeshis to register their name with the BOC. To register their name they are requested to provide following information.
Application form for registration as a beneficiary of the BOC
1. Name :
2. Date of birth:
3. Passport Number:
4. Voter ID card Number (if any):
5. Immigration status in host country:
6. Marital status:-------------------. Name of spouse:
7. Names of the dependent children:
8. Permanent address in Bangladesh :
9. Address abroad:
10. Name, address and phone number of contact person in Bangladesh:
For all information and registration please contact;
Mr. Shamsul Alam
Bangladesh Overseas Centre
Phone : 0821-717670 mobile; 01712623966