Bangladesh relaxed regulations allowing foreigners working in the country to repatriate most of their wages monthly and the remainder at yearend to encourage them to send their incomes through official channels.
Under the eased rules, authorised dealer (AD) banks now can remit up to 80 per cent of foreigners' monthly net income instead of 75 per cent, according to a notification issued Monday by the Bangladesh Bank (BB).
"The remaining 20 per cent of foreign nationals' net income will be remittable at the end of the financial year upon completion of income-tax assessment, supported by certificate issued by tax authority concerned," it says.
Earlier, the foreigners were allowed to transfer remaining 25 per cent of their genuine savings out of salaries/benefits at the time of leaving Bangladesh permanently after expiry of period of service in line with the Guidelines for Foreign Exchange Transactions (GFET).
The AD banks are also allowed to remit foreign nationals' net income from the employers' Foreign Currency Account opened and maintained for this purpose anywhere the family members of the foreign employees reside, according to the notification.
"We've relaxed regulations on family-remittance facility for foreign nationals working particularly mega-projects in Bangladesh," a BB senior official told the FE.
It will also help attract efficient foreign experts to work in Bangladesh, according to the central banker.
He also says such relaxations will also help encourage foreign nationals, particularly from SAARC-member countries, to send their incomes through banking channels.
There are no specific data on the number of foreign workers in Bangladesh, but media reports and people concerned say the figure could run into several hundred thousand.
According to home ministry's count the number is as low as 86,000, and most of them are from India. As per Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), the figure is at least 0.25 million, and of them, only 90,000 are legal workers.
The National Skill Development Authority, an institute under the office of the prime minister, revealed at a workshop in 2019 that foreign nationals working in Bangladesh remit about US$6 billion each year to their countries, a media report says.
Foreign nationals are working in 32 sectors, including garment industries and buying companies, merchandising companies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), information and communication technology (ICT) sector, education, engineering institutes, consulting firms, multinational companies, private power plants, international contractors, hotel-restaurants, mobile-phone companies, oil and gas companies and so.
They usually are involved with mid-level management and higher positions.
By a stark contrast, analysts say, Bangladeshi expatriates are largely low-paid employees for lack of qualifications and sector-specific skills. They suggest upgrading the overseas manpower-employment system so that they can get high-end jobs and help in remittance enhancement for the country.