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The guideline titled 'permission to set up branch, liaison, representative office and project office of foreign company in Bangladesh and work permit for foreign nationals' proposed a new pay structure.

According to the BIDA, the draft guideline has already been sent to various stakeholders including Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI).

Once their opinion is received, the BIDA would then finalise the draft guideline and forward it to the prime minister’s office.

The guideline classifies the foreign nationals in three categories. Citizens from South Asian countries falls in the first category, citizens from Malaysia, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, South Africa and other countries with similar economy in the second category and citizens from United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar and European Union countries will fall in the third category.

A citizen from South Asian countries holding a position of managing director at a factory or business firm in Bangladesh would be paid a minimum salary of $2,500 a month while a citizen from the second and the third category countries would receive a minimum salary of $2,800 and $3,000 a month respectively.

For the position of chief executive officer (CEO) or country manager, citizens from a South Asian country would receive a minimum salary of $2,300, citizens from the second category to receive $2,400 and citizens from the third category $2,500 a month.

The guideline also proposes a minimum wage limit against each post. The minimum wage would be $1,400 a month for a citizen, from a South Asian country, holding the position of a worker, technician, supervisor, operator or any similar position. A citizen from the second and the third category countries would receive a minimum salary of $1,500 and $1,600 a month respectively.

Currently, foreign nationals working in Bangladesh are obliged to disclose their remuneration under a 2011 guideline. But the salary they show is not their actual salary. The salary against all posts has increased in the last ten years. But nobody is disclosing their actual salary.

The old guideline is being amended so that the foreigners show their actual salary.

BIDA director Ariful Hoque told Prothom Alo that the country’s economy has witnessed many changes from 2011 to 2021. Salary of foreign nationals has increased too. But the real scenario is not being reflected. That’s why an amendment to the guideline is being made with fixing a minimum salary against each post, the official added.

According to BIDA officials, information on foreign nationals’ salary and other allowances will have to be mentioned specifically in the work permit application.

They said a minimum pay has been proposed in accordance with the state of the economy, per capita income and citizens of various countries to avoid confusion on salary and allowance. And all must follow it.

The draft guideline also stated a data bank would be created to prepare a list of all foreign factories and businesses operating in Bangladesh. It would also update information on all foreign nationals working in the country.

The government’s inter-ministerial committee would review and analyse the data and information from time to time.

Bedsides, the ministry concerned would maintain a link to the data bank so that intelligence agencies can collect information for national and state security concerns, if necessary.

*This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna.

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