Foreign Investment in Bangladesh | Direct, Angel, Rules, Policy- Everything you need to know in 21st century

Foreign Investment in Bangladesh | Direct, Angel, Rules, Policy- Everything you need to know in 21st century

How to invest in Bangladesh | Direct, Angel, Rules, Policy- Everything you need to know about Foreign Investment in 21st century Bangladesh

Tahmidur Rahman
 Director and Senior Associate, Counsels Law Partners

17 Jan 2020

Leading up to initiating a major investment , investors needs to navigate the basic legal policies on investment law in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is one of the easiest countries in the world to do business with straightforward regulation, a well-respected legal system and low entry barriers. Entrepreneurship is also massively respected and encouraged in the country. Despite this welcoming atmosphere and a lack of red tape, difficult choices and decisions need to be taken at an early stage, and this article describes everything you need to know about investing in Bangladesh.

Foreign Investment Policy in Bangladesh

 

The Government of Bangladesh has put in place a wide range of policies aimed at bringing substantial socio-economic changes to the citizens of Bangladesh and, eventually, self-reliance to the country. In recognition of the capacity of the private sector to contribute to the achievement of these objectives, the government has recently initiated a number of major policy reforms, which are planned to create a more transparent and competitive environment for foreign investment in Bangladesh.

In order to achieve the goal of accelerating industrial growth and increasing the share of industry in the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP) and to make industrial policy sensitive to changes in the global economy, the current government announced an Industrial Policy in 1999.

The core characteristics of the 1999 industrial strategy are as follows:

  • To draw foreign direct investment in Bangladesh,  both export and domestic market-oriented industries to compensate for the lack of domestic investment opportunities and to acquire emerging technology and to gain access to export markets.
  • To ensure the sustainable growth of industrial jobs by promoting investment in labour-intensive manufacturing sectors, including investment in productive small and cottage sectors.
  • Diversifying and increasingly increasing the production of manufacturing.
  • Coordinate economic and fiscal policies to inspire a growth in foreign investment in Bangladesh.
  • Promote the competitive strength of import substituting industries for catering to a rising domestic market.
  • To increase the production base of the economy by increasing the pace of industrial investment.
  • Promote the private sector to drive the development of industrial production and investment.
  • Emphasis on the role of the government as a facilitator in creating an enabling environment for the expansion of private investment
Foreign Investment in Bangladesh_How foreign Investment works in Bangladesh

Investment Structures in Bangladesh

Bangladesh offers generous opportunities for investment under its relaxed Industrial Policy and export-oriented, private sector-led growth strategy. Except for the previously stated reserved sectors, foreign investors are free to make investments in Bangladesh in industrial enterprises. Foreign companies wishing to do business or establish a presence in Bangladesh have a number of options.

1.  Foreign Direct Investment

FDI (foreign direct investment in Bangladesh) in industrial or construction projects must be registered with the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA). BIDA, formerly known as the Investment Board, was formed by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Act 2016 to deal with issues related to FDI and to promote investment in Bangladesh. The foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow at the end of June 2018 amounted to USD 2.58 billion (foreign investment in Bangladesh stats, Bangladesh bank).

The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) announced an impressive 13.34% rise in FDI in the third quarter of 2018, receiving proposals worth USD 3.23 billion over the same period, suggesting strong interest on the part of foreign investors.

The key objective of BIDA is to encourage domestic and foreign investment as well as improve Bangladesh’s international competitiveness. BIDA also provides the necessary facilities and assistance for the establishment of industries. Determining the route of investment usually depends on the specific sector and the policy of the FDI adopted by the Government in regards to foreign investment in Bangladesh.

2. Wholly owned subsidiaries in Bangladesh

Foreign companies are allowed to create wholly-owned subsidiaries in Bangladesh. Such companies may be known as private limited or public limited companies. Foreign equity ownership can be up to 100% in most sectors, including construction, information technology and production.

Foreign entities can acquire an existing Bangladeshi company or incorporate a new company that complies with the requirements of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC). Subsidiaries are entitled to remit dividends reported on income after tax.

3. Joint Ventures in Bangladesh

As with wholly-owned subsidiaries, international companies can have joint venture companies with Bangladeshi partners. The equity ownership of a foreign corporation would depend on the sector in which it is invested.

 

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4. Branch or Liasion offices in Bangladesh

International companies can also create a presence in Bangladesh through a representative office, liaison office or branch office for the purpose of foreign investment in Bangladesh. Typically foreign companies that do not have local earnings in Bangladesh may choose to set up representative offices, liaison offices or branches.

The operations of these organizations are limited to those set out in their BIDA approvals and are subject to strict compliance with the foreign exchange regulations. Generally, no outward remittance of any kind from Bangladesh is allowed unless expressly approved by the Foreign Exchange Regulations or the Bangladesh Bank.

fSuch offices are expected to pay inward remittances of at least USD 50,000 within two months from the date of establishment as a cost of establishment. One of the requisite approvals for the establishment is that security clearance must be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh. (foreign investment in Bangladesh)

5. Option of Participating in an existing Bangladeshi company by purchasing shares

In regards to foreign investment in Bangladesh, Foreign investors are free to invest in local companies in Bangladesh unless expressly prohibited (as stated above). Shares can also be given to foreign investors against capital machinery brought by them to Bangladesh (subject to confirmation by the Customs and Excise Office of the import documents).

If you want to know how to open a company in Bangladesh or about company formation click here!

  • Step by Step Process of Registering a Company in Bangladesh
Foreign Investment in Bangladesh_How to invest in Bangladesh

Right to Issue and Transfer Shares in Bangladesh

 

There is no need for permission from the Bank of Bangladesh to set up such ventures if the entrepreneurs use their own funds. Prior approval of the Central Bank is not necessary for the issuance of shares in favor of non-residents against foreign investment in BD.

 

Shares may be issues relating to freely convertible foreign exchange brought in from abroad via the banking channel or to the importation of capital machinery or the combination of both.

 

Foreign exchange thus entered must be paid out in taka before the issuance of shares, except in the case of Type A (full foreign owned) and Type B (joint venture) units of EPZ and EZ, where FC ‘s foreign bright equity of be held in the FC accounts of the units concerned.

 

Transferring shares and securities in Bangladesh from one shareholder to another shareholder regardless of their nationality / residence does not require approval from Bangladesh Bank.

 

In the event of a transfer of private / public (non-listed) shares between resident-non-residents or vice versa, a general intimation to Bangladesh Bank is required by the Approved Bank within 14 days of such a transaction.

 

As there is no established marketplace for such investment in Bangladesh, Bangladesh Bank will accept fair value of the shares as on the date of sale based on a reasonable combination of three valuation approaches (NAV; FMV and DCF), depending on the nature of the company in regards to foreign investment in Bangladesh.

 

If you want to know everything about Share Transfer process in Bangladesh!

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Full Repatriation of Dividend, Investment and Income

It will enable complete repatriation of the capital invested from free sources in regards to foreign investment in Bangladesh. Profits and dividends accruing to foreign investment can likewise be transferred in full. Those would be considered as new investment if foreign investors reinvest their reparable dividends and/or retained earnings. Foreigners living in Bangladesh have the right to remit up to 50 percent of their income and can enjoy facilities for complete repatriation of their savings and pension benefits. (foreign investment in Bangladesh.)

 

Laws for the Protection of Foreign Investment in Bangladesh

The government guarantees immunity from nationalization and expropriation through the 1980 Foreign Private Investment Act that involves repatriation of capital and dividend for foreign investors. In addition, Bangladesh has made ample legal provisions to secure intellectual property rights. In addition to the 1980 Foreign Private Investment Act , the government has developed an FDI Policy (Foreign Direct Investment Policy), which supports easy but efficient investment mechanisms in Bangladesh.

The policy encourages the establishment of enterprises by simplifying the leasing and purchasing process of private property, forming an agency, enabling corporate tax holidays for 7 years (15 years in the power sector) and in some respects introducing an exemption of foreign employees’ income tax for up to 3 years.

 

Foreign Investment in bangladesh_trends in foreign investment in bangladesh

Disputes Settlement in regards to Foreign Investment in Bangladesh

In dispute cases alternative conflict settlement is possible under the 2001 Arbitration Act. The Bangladesh International Convention on the Recognition and Compliance of Foreign Arbitral Awards was signed. Bangladesh is also a member of International Centre for Investment Dispute Settlement (ICSID).

The new law also provides for the implementation without much hindrance of international arbitral awards. Although venturing in a company may be overwhelming, Bangladesh offers investors a safe and resourceful environment suitable for establishing or expanding any company, and it can be said that Bangladesh is in fact a “dream investment destination,” after much consideration.

 

Visa, Work Permit, Citizenship in Bangladesh

For periods ranging from one month to five years prospective foreign investors may apply for visas. Foreign workers must get BIDA / BEZA / BEPZA work permit.

In an industrial organization the number of expatriate workers can not exceed the ratio of 1:20 (foreign: local) for industrial settings and 1:5 (foreign: local) for commercial establishments. Citizenship in a scheduled bank may be subject to investment of USD 1 million or a fixed deposit of USD 2 million. Investors can also get ‘NO Visa Requirement’ exemption for investment of more than USD 10 million.

 

If you want to know more in details about Visa obtaining process in Bangladesh

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Incentives offered to Foreign Investors in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is keen to boost the economy in a short time and turn the poverty-stricken economy into a developed one. Government investment strategy provides competitive stimulus packages to attract foreign investment. These incentives are updated annually and new incentives are announced, too. These installations are subject to certain conditions and are issued by the BIDA. Moreover, Bangladesh gives international investors citizenship, permanent residency and multiple entry visas for their ease of business.

 

Investing in the Stock market in Bangladesh

International investors are eligible to engage in Initial Public Offerings ( IPOs) without regulatory restrictions. In addition , capital gains from listed securities are tax-exempt for private investors and lower tax rates apply to corporations and other organizations.

 

Import Duty exemption in Bangladesh

No import duties are applicable for export-oriented sectors. There are duty exemptions also for some preferred sectors. General exemption of import duties is also available in respect of import of specific Plant & Machinery and spares.

 

If you want to know everything about Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh read this articl

Foreign Investment in bangladesh_Entering the Bangladshi market

Allowance of Capital repatriation in Bangladesh

Full repatriation of invested capital, profits and dividends is allowed, subject to applicable taxes.

 

Tax holiday facility in Bangladesh (THF)

Tax holidays are granted to industries subject to the relevant rules and procedures laid down by the National Revenue Board of Bangladesh (NBR). This may vary from 3 to 7 years depending on the location of the establishment. For example, industries located in the Dhaka and Chittagong Divisions (excluding three Hill Tract districts of the Chittagong Division) are exempted for a period of five years.

This tax holiday scheme, which was scheduled to end in 2015, was extended until June 2019 to create an investor-friendly atmosphere in Bangladesh. Tax holiday facilities are also available to manufacturing units and economic zone developers for a period of 10 years and 12 years respectively.

 

Special Tax Exemption for the foreign investors in Bangladesh

Tax exemptions are commonly permitted in the following cases:

  • There will be scope of tax exemption on royalties, technical know-how fees earned by any international partner, business, company and expert;
  • Reasonable income tax-upto-threeyearsforeign technicians working in industries as defined in the respective schedule of income tax regulations;
  • Relevant revenue of a private corporation conducting public infrastructure projects;
  • In regards to capital gains from the sale of shares of limited public company listed on the stock exchange;
  • NGO reported with the NGO Affairs Bureau;
  • Reasonable profits of companies and other sectors defined in the income tax Ordinance

Depreciation allowance in regards to Tax

Depreciation allowance shall be allowed in respect of any house, equipment, factory, furniture, bridge, road or overhead used in any company or industrial undertaking in the measurement of income or gains. The third schedule of the Income Tax Ordinance 1984 sets out a list of various types of properties and their corresponding depreciation allowance rates, which usually range from 10 % to 30% of costs. The plan also sets out the overview of the usual rate of depreciation allowance, the original rate of depreciation allowance and the accelerated rate of depreciation allowance for various asset groups.

 

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Avoidance of Double Taxation for Foreign Investors

Double taxation for international investors can be avoided on the basis of the Bilateral Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties (DTTs). NBR is responsible for negotiating Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with foreign countries to facilitate FDI in Bangladesh. The DTA is an arrangement between two countries that aims to prevent double taxation by specifying the taxing rights of each country with respect to cross-border income flows and providing for tax credits or exemptions to remove double taxation. It also allows for the exchange of information between treaty partners on tax evasion. For instance, Bangladesh has double taxation treaties with  Denmark, France, Germany, Belgium, Canada, China, India, Italy, Japan, Poland, Romania, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom and other countries.

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Remittance of profits for foreign investors in Bangladesh

Remittance of income of subsidiaries of foreign companies / companies, dividends / capital gains, wages and savings of expatriates, royalties and technical fees, training and consulting fees, receivables obtained by shipping companies and airlines for freight and transit can be made by approved dealers without the prior approval of the Bangladesh Bank. Global entrepreneurs are also entitled to the same facilities as domestic entrepreneurs with regard to tax holidays, dividends, technological know-how fees, etc.

Business profits and tax exemption for foreign investors in Bangladesh

The income of an enterprise of a Contracting State shall be taxable only in that State unless the enterprise carries on business in the other Contracting State through a permanent establishment situated therein. If the enterprise carries on business as mentioned above, the benefit of the enterprise may be taxed in the other Contracting State, but only in so many cases as is due to that permanent establishment. (Article 7 of the Double Taxation Agreement).

Dividends and tax exemption for foreign investors in Bangladesh

Dividends paid by a company resident in a Contracting State to a resident in the other Contracting State may be taxed in the other State. However, such dividends may also be taxed in the Contracting State in which the corporation paying the dividends is resident and in compliance with the laws of that State, but where the beneficiary is the beneficial owner of the dividend, the tax paid shall not exceed 10% of the gross sum of such dividends (Article 10 of the Double Taxation Agreement).

Interest arising from contract state for investors

Interest occurring in a Contracting State and charged to a citizen of the other Contracting State may be taxed in another State. However, such interest may also be taxed in the Contracting State in which it exists and in compliance with the laws of that State, however if the beneficiary is the beneficial owner of the interest, the tax so paid shall not exceed 10% of the gross sum of the interest.(Article 11 of the Double Taxation Agreement).

Capital gain derived by a foregin resident

Gains obtained by a resident of a Contracting State from the alienation of immovable property referred to in Article 6 and situated in the other Contracting State may be taxed in that other Contracting State. (Article 13 to prevent a double taxation agreement)

Foreign Investment in bangladesh-Formal sectors in Bangladesh

Repatriation of investment in Bangladesh

Full restitution of the capital accumulated from foreign sources is permitted. Likewise, the gains and dividends accrued on foreign investment can be transferred in full. If foreign investors reinvest their repatriable dividends and/or retained profits, they will be considered as new assets. Foreigners living in Bangladesh are required to pay up to 75% of their wages and will benefit from complete repatriation of their savings and retirement benefits. In order to allow full repatriation of the capital invested, benefit and dividend, foreign investors will have to apply for repatriation approval from the Bangladesh Bank through an approved bank. 

Foreign Private Investment (Promotion and Protection) Act, 1980, section 8 also states:

(1)  In respect of foreign private investment, the transfer of capital and the returns from it and, in the event of liquidation of industrial undertaking having such investment, of the proceeds from such liquidation is guaranteed.

(2)  The guarantee under sub-section (1) shall be subject to the right which, in circumstances of exceptional financial and economic difficulties, the Government may exercise in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations in such circumstances.

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List of online portals for potential investors in Bangladesh

Foreign direct investment (FDI)

 

www.bida.gov.bd

BIDA
Investing in economic zones www.beza.gov.bd  BEZA
Trade-related Information https://www.bangladeshtradeportal.gov.bd/ Bangladesh Government
Company name Clearance

http://app.roc.gov.bd:7781/psp/nc_ search?p_user_id=

 

Office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Farm (RJSC)

 

Registration of Company http://www.roc.gov.bd/

Office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Farm (RJSC)

 

VAT Registration http://www.nbr.gov.bd/

National Board of Revenue

 

Issuance of Certificate for using standard mark

http://www.bsti.gov.bd/Form_Online.html

Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI)

 

If you want to know how to Obtain a Trade License in Bangladesh click here!

Foreign Investment in bangladesh_All the priority sectors for foreign investment in bangladesh

Elimination of Taxation treaty in Bangladesh

In double taxation the following shall be eliminated:

(a) If a resident of China receives income from Bangladesh, the amount of tax on that income payable in Bangladesh in compliance with the terms of this Agreement may be credited against the Chinese tax levied on that resident. However, the amount of the credit shall not exceed the amount of Chinese tax on that income determined in accordance with China’s tax laws and regulations.

B) where the revenue received from Bangladesh is a dividend paid by a company resident in Bangladesh to a company resident in China and holding not less than 10 per cent of the shares of the company paying the dividend, the credit shall take into account the tax paid to Bangladesh by the company paying the dividend for its revenue.

Bilateral Investment treaties in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has with many nations, including China, signed Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) and Trade Agreements (TA). Typical provisions contained in BITs are clauses on foreign investment protection and treatment standards which usually address issues such as fair and equal treatment, full protection and security.

Provisions on reimbursement for damages suffered by foreign investors as a result of expropriation or as a result of war and dispute are typically a central part of such agreements as well. Most IIAs also control the moving of funds across borders in connection with foreign investment. 

The BITs also contain a clause on dispute resolution between investor and state. Usually this allows investors the right to bring a lawsuit to an international arbitral tribunal if a dispute occurs with the host country.

The International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law ( UNCITRAL) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) are common places in which arbitration is sought.

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Funding options for foreign investors in Bangladesh

Foreign entities can conveniently access funding for short- and long-term investments from local financial institutions, including working capital loans, syndication, and trade finance. In addition, some of the Foreign Institutions (FIs) at home and abroad have access to on-shore and off-shore funding.

There are currently 58 planned commercial banks in the financial sector, as well as a host of Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIs) and specialized financial institutions.
In addition to raising debt-based funding, investors may also consider securing equity-based capital-market financing from the country.

Raising Capital from the Equity market in Bangladesh

International companies can start raising capital from the stock market, subject to fulfillment of certain terms and conditions. The government is keen to increase the number of companies listed on the local stock exchange, and offers regulatory incentives to attract profitable businesses.

Listed firms pay 25 per cent corporate taxes on non-listed entities, excluding those markets, compared with 35 per cent tax limit.
Formal approval from the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) is required for the fundraising process. Companies may use either the fixed price, or the option of constructing books.

The appointed merchant bank and auditor help prepare a prospectus under the fixed-price process, valuing the business based on current assets and prospects for future growth. The indicative stock price is determined and has to be certified by the regulator.

The method of book building involves a designated merchant bank to prepare an indicatively priced prospectus. The contending business then holds a series of road shows in which institutional investors are invited to bid on their stocks. IPO share price is dependent on input from other institutional investors and their interests. 

The DSEX listing process has the mandatory requirement that an Issue Manager be employed or named (approved by the DSEX). The way IPOs are determined needs support from the approved Issue Manager.

The draft prospectus shall be prepared in compliance with the Regulations of an Issue Manager and the Securities and Exchange Commission (Public Issue), 2015. IPOs can be issued by either book building or fixed-price system.

Debt capital from local commercial Banks in Bangladesh

International investors have access to financing for the local debt. Trade finance, term loans, and working capital are readily accessible to large foreign investors, in particular.

Interest rates are low for such loans and between 9-16 per cent. Bangladesh has a very large number of  State and commercial banks (as stated in the preceding section), and bank loans can be obtained against collateral secured.

Private Foreign Commercial borrowing in Bangladesh

To secure long-term foreign currency loans, a request must be sent to BIDA, which will then be forwarded to the Central Bank for further review.
To secure the loans, a business case supporting the loan condition must be included in the application. The proposal, along with the business case, is submitted for evaluation and decision by a committee chaired by the Bangladesh Bank Governor including members from BIDA, PMO Ministry of Finance.

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Regulatory institutions facilitating investment in Bangladesh

The investment route depends on the business sector and on the FDI policy introduced by the Government of Bangladesh. The following government and trade agencies would oversee and encourage investment in most sectors;

The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), Formerly known as the Investment Board (BOI), has been set up to deal with local and foreign investment issues. All incoming investments must be pre-approved by BIDA. The regulatory body aims to encourage domestic and foreign investment by simplifying the bureaucratic complexities of entering the Bangladesh market. 

Bangladesh Bank ( BB) is the central bank of the country. The central bank must be officially informed of any foreign transactions, including equity investments made on the stock market. All incoming investments shall be reported to BB via commercial banks.

Relevant trade bodies and chambers in Bangladesh

The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) is a non-profit, service-oriented chamber serving as the first point of contact for small and medium-sized enterprises. DCCI offers market-oriented inputs to imports , exports and investments throughout the government’s policy formulation period.

The Chamber periodically publishes guidebooks to promote trade and investment. DCCI also has its own training facility to facilitate the growth of capability of professionals associated with member organizations.

The International Investment Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI), founded in 1963, is made up of 188 members across the mining, service and manufacturing sectors. Classified as Class ‘A’ Chamber of Commerce, FCCI is affiliated with the FBCCI, the International Trade Center (Geneva) and the World Trade Organization (Paris).

The Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) is a leading chamber body made up of representatives of major local and multinational corporations. The MCCI maintains frequent ties with major international trade organizations and global private sector organizations. (foreign investment in Bangladesh)

Exit policy for foreign investors in Bangladesh

An investor can terminate an investment either by a decision of an annual or an extraordinary general meeting. Once a foreign investor has completed the formalities to leave the country, he or she can repatriate the net proceeds after obtaining proper authorisation from the central bank (Bangladesh Bank).

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Frequently Asked Questions about Foreign Investment in Bangladesh

In regards to Foreign Investment in bangladesh people also ask these questions frequently, hence this FAQ content block is dedicated to answering your questions.

General Questions about Foreign Investment in bangladesh

Which Countries invest the most in Bangladesh?

The country’s major investors are China, South Korea , India, Egypt, the United Kingdom , the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. According to the most recent data available from Bangladesh Bank, FDI flows increased by 5.36% to USD 1.65 billion in July-October 2019 per year.

How is the Investment Scenario in Bangladesh in 2020?

Bangladesh is already recognized as a thriving investment hub, reflected in influxes of foreign direct investment ( FDI) from the region. Bangladesh ‘s FDI amounted to USD 2.58 billion at the end of June 2018.

According to the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), there was a 13.34% rise in FDI in the third quarter of 2018, with proposals worth USD 3.23 billion in the basket. Mega-projects by the government is seen as the primary explanation for significant FDI investments in  Transportation, transportation , and communications. Exports from the country are also growing amid domestic consumption.

What is an example of Foreign Direct Investment in Bangladesh?

Examples of foreign direct investment in Bangladesh include, but are not limited to, mergers, acquisitions, retail, utilities, logistics, and development. Foreign direct investment and the laws that regulate it can be critical to the growth strategy of a business.

What are the types of foreign Investment?

Examples of foreign direct investment in Bangladesh include, but are not limited to, mergers, acquisitions, retail, utilities, logistics, and development. Foreign direct investment and the laws that regulate it can be critical to the growth strategy of a business.

What is the current trend of foreign investment in Bangladesh?

35.4 per cent of the FDI came from the manufacturing industry in 2016-17. The country witnessed phenomenal Y-o – Y growth of 11 per cent 2017 In this area. Experts in industry are optimistic this development will be maintained in the years to come. The sectors of transport , storage and communications ranked second with FDI inflows of 25 per cent.

This may be due to the mega projects being initiated and executed by the government at the present time. Over the time, electricity, accompanied by gas and petroleum, attracted FDI of 19 per cent. Over the years, the power sector has steadily drawn foreign investments due to the Government ‘s attractive tax incentives.

How Foreign investors can enter into Bangladeshi Market?

Foreign investors may either form a wholly / partially owned subsidiary, or set up a branch or liaison office for Bangladesh operations. The type of organization that was created will rely on the medium- and long-term strategy of the investor for market penetration. Hence the three conventional ways of entering the Market in Bangladesh:

  • Wholly owned subsidiaries
  • Limited liability by purchasing shares in an existing Bangladeshi company
  • Joint ventures
How to get work permit and visa as a foreign investor in Bangladesh?

For investors planning to become resident in Bangladesh by taking a full-time position or for the company’s expatriate employee, branch office, liaison office, work permit is required.

Upon arrival in Bangladesh for a short period of time under two types of visa, the person is required to apply for a work permit with BIDA and an extension from the Passport and Visa Department, subject to effective completion of the security clearance.

If not treated skillfully, the process can be very hectic, and time consuming. We help our customer make it easy and hassle-free. We also help our client locate commercial addresses needed for trade license and clearance of protection.

How to open a Liaison or Branch office in Bangladesh?

Opening Liaison office requires some critical preparatory work and documentation work which requires experience. We have significant experience of getting BIDA  registration for both liaison and branch office for several foreign principals.

Legal documentation involves authentication of parent company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, list of directors etc. Often the authentication process is cumbersome.

We try our best to make the process smooth and hustle free. In recent time we have opened several branch and liaison offices for construction and engineering companies whose principal is located in Italy, UK, China, Singapore and other neighboring countries.

What is SEZ or Special Economic Zone in Bangladesh?

In Bangladesh, economic zone is a relatively new term. The government intended to establish 100 economic zones in various geographical locations.

However, as the land is still under development process, only a handful of economic zones are currently allocating property, or will do so in the near future. Mirsarai Economic Zone for example.

Our customer can take our service from the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) to conduct due diligence on land in the economic zone. We also provide legal due diligence services for lands adjacent to the Mirsarai Economic Zone which is ready for immediate investment

How to get permits and consents as a foreign investor in Bangladesh?

Often the client carries out due diligence on the number of permits and approval necessary and the time period. The type of permits and consent required depends largely on the type of industry, the business venture, its location and the planned Bangladesh activity.

The Chambers offers all basic licensing services such as business registration, liaison office approval, branch office approval, trade authorization, export and import permit, chamber and trade membership, work permit, bank account opening, IRC, ERC, ad hoc IRC, BIDA registration, BIDA recommendation, etc.

We can help with other licenses or permits. We either do it ourselves or outsource it from our established service providers and vendors

What is EPZ or Export Processing Zone in Bangladesh?

Export Processing Zone is ideal for wholly owned export-oriented companies, if it is a Joint Venture, etc. 08 (eight) EPZs are geographically diversified in various locations within Bangladesh.

Depending on the nature of the company, availability of utilities, rental rates, transportation, availability of qualified man power, etc. Customer may choose acceptable EPZ to invest.

Interested customers can take advantage of our services to locate, lease, or move existing land leases from Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA).

How to do share acquisitions as a foreign investor in Bangladesh?

Share acquisition requires many paperwork works in an unlisted private and public corporation, e.g. signing Form 117, affidavits etc. In addition, in conjunction with the Memorandum and Articles of Association, several resolutions are required along with the drafting of the Share Purchase Agreements.

For the whole process, we counsel clients so that the transition is done smoothly. We also recommended buyer as well as seller to take over some businesses. We have also advised individual shareholder in the purchasing and sale of shares. Our service involves not only supporting documentation work, but also helping to actually record and receive a certified copy from RJSC

Foreign Direct Investment in Bangladesh at CLP:

The Barristers, Advocates, and lawyers at CLP in Gulshan, Dhaka, Bangladesh are highly experienced at dealing with foregin direct investment, where we assist clients in setting up of the complete business irrespective of whether it is within a specialized zone or any other part of Bangladesh. In Counsels Law Partners, our experience helps us to efficiently execute local and cross-border global transactions while helping you at all stages of the process and offering you cost-effective, realistic business solutions. In addition to handling various issues related to domestic clients on a regular basis, it also has experience in consulting and assisting numerous international clients with utmost care and attention throughout their legal exploration in Bangladesh. For queries or legal assistance, please reach us at:

 E-mail:tahmidur@counselslaw.com
Phone:+8801727983838

Address: House 39, Road 126 (3rd Floor) Islam Mansion, Gulshan 1, Dhaka.

 

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Immigration and Citizenship laws of Bangladesh | Work permit and All visas

Immigration and Citizenship laws of Bangladesh | Work permit and All visas

Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh| All types of visas, work permits and everything  you need to know.

Tahmidur Rahman, Director and Senior Associate

20 Oct 2019

Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh- This post in will explain in details the  Immigration Law in Bangladesh: Business & Work Permit Visa,  Government Delegate visa, BIDA guidelines, FE visa, investor visa, tourist visa – everything you need to know about immigration law in Bangladesh.

     

    Immigration in Bangladesh

     

    Immigration and Citizenship in BangladeshImmigration is a process of people traveling or moving from one destination to another and becoming permanent residents or citizens of another State for employment, marriage or settlement, whether legally or illegally. Traditionally, the immigration process has been of great political, economic , and cultural benefit to States. As people cross national frontiers during their migration, they are called refugees from the point of view of the country they enter. On the other hand, from the perspective of the country they leave, these migrants are termed emigrants.

    Bangladesh has recently gained considerable worldwide attention due to its booming business and growing economy. As well as Bangladesh ‘s easy immigration law , foreign people from all around the globe have been inspired to stay there and continue their business. Many foreign nationals have attracted this to pursue jobs in Bangladesh or to invest in Bangladesh. This article provides an overview of Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh and the different schemes and procedures to be followed in Bangladesh for obtaining citizenship or a visa.

     

    Step by step process of Obtaining citizenship in Bangladesh

     

    In regards to Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh, most nationals require a valid visa to enter Bangladesh. Type, visa category, and length of stay are determined / confirmed by the Embassy. The type and category of visa will differ depending on the intent of the visit, the duration of stay and bilateral agreement with the foreign national ‘s country. Any amendments made by the Government of Bangladesh to the rules and regulations will apply to issuing visas.

    But in regards to citizenship procedure in Bangladesh, A person who has resided in Bangladesh for 4 ( four) years during the last seven (seven) years can apply for Bangladesh citizenship. 

    Bangladesh’s nationality law regulates the citizenship and nationality problems of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The law governs the status of nationality and citizenship of all people born in Bangladesh, as well as of all persons of Bangladesh descent. This helps the children of expatriates, foreigners as well as Bangladesh residents to evaluate their citizenship status and to apply for and receive Bangladesh citizenship if appropriate.

    In regards to Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh, the primary legislation relating to Bangladesh citizenship is the 1951 Citizenship Act, originally the 1951 Pakistan Citizenship Act, later modified by a series of statutory orders passed by the Bangladeshi Government.

     

    Requirements of obtaining a citizenship in Bangladesh

     

    In order to get citizenship well within the framework of Bangladesh’s immigration law, the applicant has to fullfill the following( Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh):

     

    • (a) That he is not a minor

       

    • (b) That he is neither a citizen of [Bangladesh] nor a subject of any state of which a citizen of [Bangladesh] is prevented by or under any law from becoming a subject by naturalization;]

       

    • (c) that he has resided in [Bangladesh] throughout the period of twelve months immediately preceding the date of application, and has, during the seven years immediately preceding the said period of twelve months. Resided in [Bangladesh] for a period amounting In the aggregate to not less than four years;

       

    • (d) That he is of good character;

       

    • (e) That he has adequate knowledge of the [Bengali] language; and

       

    • (f) That he Intends, if the application is granted, to reside in [Bangladesh] or to enter or continue in the service of the [Republic] in [Bangladesh].

    Obtaining a certificate of Naturalization

     

    If the above conditions are met, then the person seeking Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh must apply to the appropriate government authorities in Bangladesh for a Certificate of Naturalization.
    Any application for a Naturalization Certificate shall be in writing and shall state to the best of the applicant ‘s knowledge and belief-

    • (a) His age
    • (b) His place of birth;
    • (c) His place of residence.,
    • (d) His profession, trade or occupation
    • (e) Full particulars regarding his qualification;
    • (f)Whether he has at any time previously applied for the grant of a certificate of naturalization;
    • (g)Whether any such application has been rejected
    • (h)Whether any such certificate has been granted to him; and
    • (i)Whether any such certificate granted to him has been revoked or whether he has been deprived of his citizenship.

      After receiving the Certificate of Naturalization, the applicant would be registered as a citizen of Bangladesh. ( Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh)

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    Government Delegate visa in Bangladesh

     

    A. Who are eligible to apply

    Government Delegates who want to visit Bangladesh for the purpose of official tour/duty/visit, they are eligible to apply for Government Delegates visa.

    B. Duration of Government Delegates visa

    Government Delegates visa may be issued for as required with single, double or multiple entries. 

    The visa applicant must obtain and fill out the application form from the Bangladesh High Commission in their respective country. The following documents must be submitted to the Bangladesh High Commission along with Visa application

    1. Print-out of duly filled-in Visa application form with applicant’s signature;
    2. 01 (one) recent passport size (45X35 mm) colour photograph with a white background;
    3. Passport (with at least for six months validity);
    4. Note Verbal from the concern Ministry mentioning the applicant’s position, duration of stay and purpose of visit in Bangladesh;
    5. Previous Passport and visa (if any) along with a photocopy.

    Business visa in Bangladesh

    The applicant should apply for the B visa in respect of business travel visa. The following documents must be sent to the High Commission or Embassy of Bangladesh in the respective country for obtaining a B-Business visa-

    • The completed and signed visa application form;
    • Original passport, valid for at least six months;
    • The visa processing fee;
    • Three passport-sized recent photographs;
    • Invitation letter from a business organization in Bangladesh;
    • Letter from your employer confirming your position in the company;
    • Your flight/travel itinerary;
    • A self-addressed, pre-paid special delivery envelope.

    After obtaining B visa, the visa holder can reside in Bangladesh for 180 days.

    Types of  work permit in Bangladesh

    To any foreign national pursuing jobs in Bangladesh, a work permit is compulsory. In Bangladesh, there are 3 government authorities issuing work permits.

    1. For private sector industrial enterprise, branch office and liaison office, outside of Export Processing Zone (EPZ) – Board of Investment (B01).
    2. For employment of foreign national in the EPZ – Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA).
    3. For employment of foreign national in any NGO – NGO Affairs Bureau.

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    Complete step by step process of obtaining a work permit in Bangladesh

    For any foreign national seeking employment in Bangladesh, the first move is to get a work permit to work in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) is the primary government authority in Bangladesh to grant work permits for foreign nationals pursuing jobs in private companies or industries or public enterprises. This government agency is the primary agency that decides if a foreigner should obtain a work permit to work in Bangladesh. For foreign nationals seeking work permit in Bangladesh, BIDA has a specified form. Please click here to download the Form.

    Necessary documents required for a work permit in Bangladesh

    The following papers/documents are required for new work permit(Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh)

    1. Application in prescribed form along with passport size photographs of the foreign national(s) attested by the Managing Director/Managing Partner/Proprietor/appropriate authority.

    2. Attested copy of the permission letter for Branch/Liaison Office/Company.

    3. Commercial Enterprise from the appropriate authority, if not submitted earlier.

    4. Board resolution regarding employment of foreign national(s) including salary & other benefit.

    5. Memorandum, Article of Association and Certificate of Incorporation of the Company duly signed by shareholders, if not submitted earlier.

    6. Attested photocopy of passport with arrival stamp ‘E’ type visa for employee and ‘PI’ type visa for investors.

    7. Attested copy of service contract/agreement and appointment letter, in case of employee.

    8. Attested copies of all academic, professional and experience certificate for employee (Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh).

    9. Paper clipping showing advertisement made for recruitment of local personnel prior to appointment of the foreign national(s).

    10. Statement of manpower showing list of local and expatriate personnel employed with designation, salary details, nationality and date of first appointment.

    11. Encashment certificate of inward remittance in favor of Liaison/Branch office for the last 2 years.

    12. Encashment certificate of inward remittance of minimum US$ 50,000 as initial establishment cost for branch/liaison offices and locally incorporated/join-venture and 100% foreign ownership companies.

    13. Up-to-date income tax certificate for branch office of the locally incorporated companies in Bangladesh.

    Guidelines of BIDA for foreign nationals

    Foreign nationals must keep in mind that BIDA strictly maintains the following guidelines:

    • Applicants of the work permit must be from a country which Bangladesh recognizes as a nation.
    • Employment of the foreign national is considered only in industrial/commercial establishments which have been registered by the appropriate authority.
    • Employment of foreign nationals is normally considered for the job for which locals are not available. However, this is not a mandatory requirement.
    • Persons under the age of 18 years are not eligible for employment.
    • A decision of the board of directors of the concerned company or institution for new employment is to be furnished in each case.
    • BIDA ensures that the number of foreign employees does not exceed 5% in the industrial sector and 20% in the commercial sector of the total employees.
    • Initially, employment of any foreign national is considered for a period of one year, which may be extended on the merit of the case.

    BIDA – Step by step process

     

    Step 1: Publishing newspaper or an online advertisement

     

    For the recruitment of a prospective employee the employer must first put a print in a Bangladeshi newspaper or internet advertising. The newspaper or online advertisement must provide a list of the duties that the employee will be expected to perform, future employee credentials, wage description (negotiable or not), work place, and any other necessary terms of employment. Essentially this advertising sets out a job description.

    Step 2: Application for the E Visa Recommendation

    Thereafter, the employer must apply to BIDA for the E Visa recommendation in favour of the foreign national. The documents that must be submitted to BIDA are as follows-

     

    • Copy of permission letter for branch/liaison/representative office or Memorandum of articles of association and certificate of incorporation in case of a locally incorporated company.
    • Board Resolution for the employment of foreign nation(s) mentioning Expatriate Name, Nationality & Passport Number
    • Photograph of the Expatriate.
    • Copy of passport of the Expatriate/Investor/Employee (Whole of the used part).
    • Appointment Letter/transfer order/service contract or agreement for expatriate/investors.
    • Certificate of all academic qualification & professional experience for the employees
    • Paperclipping showing advertisement made for recruitment of local personal prior to the appointment of the expatriate(s)
    • Specific activities of the company
    • Statement of manpower showing a list of local and expatriate personal employed with the designation, salary break-up, nationality and date of the first appointment. (Latest Copy)
    • Encashment certificate of inward remittance of minimum U.S $50,000.00 as initial establishment cost for branch/liaison/representative office and locally incorporated/ joint venture and 100% foreign ownership companies.
    • Up-to-date Income tax clearance certificate (Organization)

    Please keep in mind that all the documents must be attested by the Chairman/ CEO / Managing director/ Country Manager/ Chief executive of the Company/ firms.

     

    Step 3: Application for E Visa in the respective Bangladesh Embassy or High Commission

     

    Once BIDA issues the E visa recommendation, the foreign national must apply for E visa in the respective Bangladesh Embassy or High Commission in their country. Once the E visa is issued, the foreign national should enter Bangladesh with the E visa.

     

    Step 4: Application for a work permit in Bangladesh

     

    After arrival in Bangladesh, the foreign national must submit an application for the work permit to BIDA within 15 days. A fee of Tk. 5,000 is applicable for applying for the work permit.

     

    The following papers/documents are required for a new work permit:

     

    • Attested photocopy of passport with arrival stamp ‘E’ type visa for an employee
    • Copy of permission letter for branch/liaison/representative office or Memorandum of articles of association and certificate of incorporation in case of the locally incorporated company.
    • Board Resolution for the employment of foreign nation(s) mentioning Expatriate Name, Nationality & Passport Number
    • Photograph of the Expatriate.
    • Copy of passport of the Expatriate/Investor/Employee (Whole of the used part).
    • Appointment Letter/transfer order/service contract or agreement for expatriate/investors.
    • Certificate of all academic qualification & professional experience for the employees
    • Paperclipping showing advertisement made for recruitment of local personal prior to appointment of the expatriate(s)
    • Specific activities of the company
    • Statement of manpower showing list of local and expatriate personal employed with the designation, salary break-up, nationality and date of the first appointment. (Latest Copy)
    • Encashment certificate of inward remittance of minimum U.S $50,000.00 as initial establishment cost for branch/liaison/representative office and locally incorporated/ joint venture and 100% foreign ownership companies.
    • Up-to-date Income tax clearance certificate (Organization)

    Step 5: Security Clearance

     

    Once a work permit is issued by BIDA, a copy of the work permit would then be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs for security clearance by BIDA. After some scrutiny, security clearance will be issued. (Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh)

     

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    If you want to know everything about obtaining a VISA in Bangladesh - Read this Article

    • Step by Step Process of getting a visa in Bangladesh

    FE – visa in Bangladesh

    One additional feature of the E Visa is that after the foreign national obtains work permit through E Visa, he is eligible to bring his spouse or dependent members to Bangladesh through the FE VISA.

    Authorized Period of stay: the same length of stay as the Principal visa trip in the E category.

    Birth/ marriage certificates must be presented to BIDA to obtain the FE Visa. (Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh)

     

    Investor visa in Bangladesh

    The investor visa is applicable to foreign investors who want to invest in a business in Bangladesh.

    The applicant for a visa must obtain and fill out the Bangladesh High Commission application form in their respective country. The following documents and the Visa application must be sent to the Bangladesh High Commission (Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh)-

    • A printed copy of duly filled in the online VISA application form and signed accordingly;
    • Recent passport size colour photo- 2 (Two) copies with white background;
    • Original Passport (valid at least for six months) with a photocopy of photo page;
    • Recommendation letter from BIDA/BOI/BEPZA.

    Tourist visa in Bangladesh

     

    To obtain a tourist visa to visit Bangladesh, the visa applicant must appear for visa application in person at the Bangladeshi Embassy in their country. As part of the application, the visa applicant must have the following documents (Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh )-

    • Filled-out online Application form (print out copy with a signature signed
    • Passport and a copy of the main page.
    • 2 recent colour photographs(2 inches size and a stamp size 2 cm. x 2 cm.) with a white background.
    • An employment letter (mentioning that individuals appointment/post, passport number, duration of period serving in the company and salary. ) OR an invitation letter from Bangladesh in the subject in Tourism together with a copy of a passport of the host/ a person who invites you to Bangladesh.
    • A copy of Hotel reservation.
    • A copy of the recent book bank or bank statement (alternative)
    • A copy of Ticket
    • A valid Passport with a sufficient number of pages
    • Copy of the previous visa

     

    After the tourist visa period ends, the visa applicant can apply for extending the visa.

     

     

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    “One additional feature of the E Visa is that after the foreign national obtains work permit through E Visa, he is eligible to bring his spouse or dependent members to Bangladesh through the FE VISA”

     

    Student visa in Bangladesh

    Students seeking admission to any government-approved educational institution must apply at their respective Bangladeshi Embassy or High Commission for a student visa (Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh ).

    The following documents must be submitted to the Bangladeshi Embassy or High Commission in order to apply for a student visa:

    • Proof of letter from the Bangladesh Bangladeshi educational institution where the applicant got admission or is going to get admission;
    • Sponsorship letter from the Bangladeshi educational institution;
    • Bank statement of the previous three months;
    • Student ID issued by the Bangladeshi educational institution with a photocopy;
    • Two copies of 45mm X 35mm photographs;
    • Filled-in visa application form.

     

    Diplomatic visa in Bangladesh

    This visa applies to individuals employed in a diplomatic position. To apply for a diplomatic visa, the following documents must be submitted to the respective Bangladesh ambassy or high commission.

    • Official letter from the concerned Government/ Embassy/ Office/ Organization;
    • Two copies of 45mm X 35mm photographs;
    • Filled-in visa application form
    • Letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs required for the Exemption of the Visa fees for the official visits
    • Visa will be given on the Official Passport.

     

    NGO visa in Bangladesh

    A person who has been named to a Bangladesh registered NGO is eligible for a visa from the NGO. The following documents for NGO visas must be sent to the relevant Bangladeshi Embassy or High Commission (Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh):

    • A certified letter from the concerned NGO in Bangladesh which should be duly attested by the NGO Affairs Bureau, Dhaka stating that the visa applicant has been appointed by the concerned NGO;
    • The appointment letter issued by the concerned NGO with the terms and conditions from the NGO where the applicant has been appointed;
    • A letter from the present employer of the applicant;
    • Two copies of 45mm X 35mm photographs;
    • Filled-in visa application form.
    • Recommendation letter from the concerned Bangladeshi NGO.

     

    Journalist visa in Bangladesh

    Journalists from newspapers / magazines / TV or radio networks / news agencies / print , electronic or satellite media / self-employed journalists will be eligible for a journalistic visa for their professional service in Bangladesh. To obtain a journalistic visa, the following documents must be submitted by the visa applicant to the respective Bangladesh embassy or high commission (Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh):

    • A support letter from his/her employer describing the purpose of the visit to Bangladesh;
    • Filled in FF-Iand FF-II forms;
    • Two copies of 45mm X 35mm photographs
    • Filled-in visa application form.
    • Passport copies
    • One set of a copy of the work permit in the country that he/she is employed in.
    • A copy of the journalist/press identity card
    • A recommendation letter from the current employer in their respective country, providing necessary information such as the details of the journalist, what subject will be reported or what information will be obtained in Bangladesh and the types of equipment that will be necessary to conduct the report in Bangladesh.

     

    Immigration practice at Counsels Law Partners 

    The Barristers, Advocates, and lawyers at CLP (Tahmidur Rahman, Counsels Law Partners) in Gulshan 1, Dhaka, Bangladesh are highly experienced at providing any kind of services related to immigration for foreign nationals. This is often considered as the best Immigration law chamber in Bangladesh, it has assisted numerous clients to obtain visa in Bangladesh. It can provide any kind of documentation, paperwork, consultation or any other related services to any foreign national who seeks visa in Bangladesh or anything in regards to the Immigration and Citizenship in Bangladesh. For queries or legal assistance, please reach us at:

    E-mail: tahmidur@counselslaw.com

    Phone: +8801727983838
    Address: House 39, Road 126 (3rd Floor) Islam Mansion, Gulshan 1, Dhaka.

     

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