No discussion on visa policy with Rena Bitter: Acting foreign secretary

US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Rena Bitter calls on acting foreign secretary Khurshed Alam on 30 September, 2023
Facebook page of the US embassy in Bangladesh

There was no discussion on the new US visa policy with visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Rena Bitter, said Bangladesh’s acting foreign secretary Khurshed Alam.

But there was a discussion so that students could get the US visa easily, he added.

The acting foreign secretary was speaking to the media at his office on Sunday.

Earlier, Rena Bitter and Deputy Assistant Secretary for the US’ Bureau of Population, Migration, and Refugees Janine Wynne met the acting foreign secretary on Saturday afternoon.

Following the meeting, Khurshed Alam said different issues were discussed with Rena Bitter but there was no discussion on the visa policy. Neither did they raise the issue.

“There were some issues like our students do not get visas easily. Some of us who work in international organisations, I mean those who are Bangladeshi born, they also face problems in getting visas. We have highlighted those issues. They said they would consider the issues. They have lowered the visa expiration time, which was much higher earlier. This has been brought down to six months now.”

Asked, the acting foreign secretary said they have arrived in Bangladesh as part of regular visits, not for any special reason.

Mentioning the discussion with Janine Wynne, Khurshed Alam said, “There was discussion on the Rohingya crisis. They have a concern on the matter. They want a voluntary and dignified repatriation of Rohingya with safety. We don’t disagree with this. But there should not be any situation where the prime minister saved the Rohingyas from oppression by sheltering them and we made a huge mistake through this.”

Regarding visas, they said they had some issues following the Covid-19. Now they have resolved the issues and would try to issue the visas within six months, said the acting foreign secretary.

Responding to a question on whether the Bangladeshi side informed them about any concern regarding the visa policy, Khurshed Alam said, “No, there’s nothing to say about this. If they want to do this that’s …”

Speaking about the new 3C visa, the acting foreign secretary said, “There was no discussion on this. You might have interests in this, we don’t have.”
US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Rena Bitter has been leading a delegation that arrived in Bangladesh on Saturday.