Bangladesh imposes five-year limit on foreign work permits

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Bangladesh's Board of Investment (BOI) has imposed a five-year limit on foreigners working for commercial firms and industries, stating that the country needs to open up more jobs for locals.

"The BOI will not issue permits to any foreign citizen to work in Bangladesh for more than five years," said Mohammad Mohsin, BOI's executive chairman.

The restriction will not apply to foreigners working in diplomatic or other non-commercial posts.

The decision came after a taskforce recently found that a number of foreign workers in Bangladesh hid their actual income to evade government taxes -- prompting BOI to scrap work permits for 25 foreign nationals.

They found that Bangladesh has at least 100,000 foreigners working in industries and commercial sectors but that only 10,000 have legal work permits.

Initially, the foreign nationals had work permits for one or three years but had managed to stay longer, sometimes as long as ten years.

The BOI will also ban all unskilled foreign labor working in foreign or joint foreign-domestic owned companies in an attempt make more job opportunities for locals.

"From now on, no unskilled foreign national whose monthly earnings are less than $500 will be allowed to work in industrial firms with complete foreign ownership or set up under joint venture," the official said.

Mohsin said that Bangladesh's population could not afford to accommodate foreign workers for too long.