Visas and Work Permits 10 min

Work permits and visas in Bangladesh: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
January 15, 2024
Sally Flaxman


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Bangladesh has grown to become an attractive destination for international workers. Companies looking to hire or relocate employees to the country must understand the Bangladesh work visa requirements to ensure compliance. There are different categories of visas and work permits available, depending on the type of job and the duration of stay. Understanding local labor and tax laws is also necessary to stay compliant while doing business in Bangladesh.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview to ensure legal compliance when sending staff to Bangladesh. The article will also provide helpful advice on the best ways to:

  • Hire a candidate in Bangladesh without an owned entity

  • Hire a non-citizen of Bangladesh 

  • Relocate an existing employee to Bangladesh 

  • Allow a digital nomad to work in Bangladesh compliantly

The importance of immigration compliance in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi laws are stringent and only allow skilled personnel to work in the country with a valid work permit. Companies must understand that any violations of immigration law, including employing workers without the right-to-work entitlements, may result in hefty fines and other legal repercussions.

The government might blacklist the foreigner from Bangladesh, making future visa applications and work permits much more complicated, if not outright unattainable. Suppose the authorities find out that a company employs workers without work permit entitlements. In that case, they may also face a penalty of as much as 50% of the payable tax or half a million taka (about US$4,800) for each illegal employee.

To avoid the consequences mentioned above, it’s crucial to comply with the Bangladesh work visa and permit regulations before sending any personnel.

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Which workers need a right-to-work check in Bangladesh?

Foreign nationals with relevant work permits, visas, or residence cards can work legally in Bangladesh. However, the laws do not allow individuals holding a tourist visa to take up any employment in the country. Therefore, any foreigner who intends to work in Bangladesh must go through a right-to-work check before starting their job.

The Bangladesh government has identified various categories of workers eligible to apply for a Bangladesh work permit. These categories include:

  • Individuals with jobs in government, semi-government, and autonomous bodies.

  • Professionals employed in specific fields such as IT, finance, law, engineering, teaching, etc.

  • Employees employed by local, multinational, or foreign companies.

  • Individuals who want to do honorary work or volunteer in Bangladesh.

Foreign nationals who meet the above criteria must obtain a valid work permit before beginning their job in Bangladesh. In addition, employers must ensure that foreign employees have a valid visa with sufficient validity to cover the duration of their stay in Bangladesh.

If you want to hire a foreign worker in Bangladesh, you’ll need to submit certain documents and applications to the Bangladesh government on behalf of your employee. The documents include:

  • Online application form

  • Valid passport

  • Photographs

  • Payment receipt of visa fee (not required for Indian citizens)

Once you’ve submitted the necessary paperwork and documents, the government can process your application for a work permit in Bangladesh. After the approval of your application, the foreign employee can start working legally in the country with the right-to-work entitlements.

Do non-citizens need a work visa or work permit in Bangladesh?

There are countries where a work visa and/or work permit are not required for foreign nationals for certain jobs, such as digital nomads or self-employed professionals. Yet, this is not the case in Bangladesh. All foreign nationals, regardless of their work, must obtain a valid Bangladesh work visa and an appropriate work permit before starting employment.

What are the eligibility requirements for a work visa in Bangladesh?

Like any other visa, there are specific eligibility requirements for a work visa in Bangladesh. The eligibility depends on the foreign national’s job in the country. It also depends on whether the applicant holds a functional visa or residence permit. If the applicant doesn’t have either, they must apply for a valid Bangladesh work visa from the local embassy or High Commission.

In most cases, eligibility requirements include:

  • Individual/employee/adviser appointed in a government, a semi-government, or equivalent organization in Bangladesh

  • Individuals employed in a local, multinational, or foreign company in Bangladesh

  • Individuals employed under contract by a local, multinational, or foreign company in Bangladesh

  • An individual who intends to do voluntary work (without salary) in registered NGOs or social welfare organizations in Bangladesh

If you fall into any of the above categories, you can get a work visa in Bangladesh. In addition, the individual must also meet certain conditions, such as having sufficient financial resources and good character, to increase their chances of successfully getting a work visa.

However, certain factors can affect the eligibility for a work visa in Bangladesh. These include:

  • The applicant’s nationality

  • The purpose of the visit

  • The duration of stay in Bangladesh

  • The type and nature of work they will do

Make sure you hire globally with confidence by getting the right legal advice and documentation to get your employees their required visas.

What are the long-stay visa types in Bangladesh?

Foreign citizens planning to work in Bangladesh for an extended period must apply for a long-stay visa. The long-stay visas available include:

Business visa

A business visa is the most common type of long-stay visa in Bangladesh. The visa is valid for six months. You can renew it after it expires for up to three years, every six months. The government issues this multi-entry visa to foreign citizens who wish to conduct business activities in the country, such as setting up a company or engaging in an import/export venture.

Though the authorities grant this type of visa to foreign citizens who wish to do business in Bangladesh, it doesn’t permit them to take up employment.

A business visa is the most suitable option for individuals who intend to stay in the country for more than 90 days, conduct business activities, attend meetings or conferences, or represent a company in Bangladesh.

Employment permit

As the name indicates, an employment permit allows a foreign national to take up an employment role in Bangladesh. Issued by the local Employment Ministry, the permit is valid for the duration of employment. It is a multi-entry visa, allowing the holder to leave and re-enter Bangladesh multiple times.

The employment permit is suitable for foreign nationals who intend to work in Bangladesh for an extended period. It is important to note that the local authorities may also revoke the permit if the applicant fails to extend it after it has expired.

Investment visa

The investment visa is a long-term visa for foreign nationals who wish to invest in Bangladesh. Initially, the visa is valid for one year, with a maximum of three months stay in the country per visit. You can renew it annually, and eventually, the holder can apply for permanent resident status after staying in Bangladesh for five consecutive years.

With this visa, an individual can hold meetings and conferences, set up a business, or do any other activity related to their investments in the country.

How do you get a work visa for Bangladesh?

To get a work visa for Bangladesh, an employee has to submit the following documents:

  • A completed and signed visa application form

  • Original passport with at least six months of validity

  • Two recent passport-sized photographs with white background

  • A letter from the employer stating the position of the applicant

  • A valid employment contract or an offer letter from the employer

  • A letter from the concerned ministry of Bangladesh

  • Proof of payment of the visa processing fees

You can submit the documents to the Bangladesh High Commission or Embassy in the applicant’s home country and wait for their decision. The processing time for a Bangladesh work visa may vary from country to country, but generally, it takes about two weeks. So make sure you apply for the visa in advance to avoid delays. After the visa issuance, the applicant needs to enter Bangladesh within the validity period.

What is the process for employee work visa sponsorship in Bangladesh?

Employee work visa sponsorship in Bangladesh requires the sponsoring company to obtain a work permit from the Department of Immigration in Dhaka. As part of the process, the sponsor must submit a completed sponsorship application form and relevant documents to prove their eligibility. These include, but are not limited to, proof of business registration and a copy of the employee’s passport.

The Department of Immigration will review the application and decide whether to grant or deny the work permit. Once approved, the sponsoring company completes the visa application form and submits it to the Bangladesh High Commission or Embassy to obtain the work visa.

What are the visa requirements for digital nomads in Bangladesh?

Currently, Bangladesh does not have a specific visa category for digital nomads. However, depending on your stay in Bangladesh, you can apply for short-term or long-term visas.

Short-term visas are valid for up to three months, and you can visit Bangladesh for business or tourism. As for long-term visas, you can stay for up to three years to work or study in Bangladesh. To be eligible, you must submit the same documents mentioned above and provide additional proof, such as a letter from your home country’s Foreign Ministry or a letter from the company you work for.

How Remote makes compliance in Bangladesh so much easier

Relocation can be a stressful and daunting experience for employers and employees, especially if you’re unfamiliar with immigration regulations. Visas, immigration, digital nomad compliance, and taxes can become complicated quickly. 

This process can be time-consuming and overwhelming, with loads of paperwork, complex documentation requirements, and ever-changing regulations. Different states have different rules, and the paperwork can be confusing, making relocating even more difficult. Understanding how relocation works, its implications, and the associated regulations can make your life easier.

Additionally, to hire or relocate an employee to Bangladesh, you’ll have to establish your own legal entity there. An employer of record (EOR) like Remote makes it simple to hire employees from Bangladesh or globally. Remote takes on the legal responsibility of hiring abroad and can help you handle immigration, taxes, payroll, benefits, and compliance.

Want to learn more about what employee relocation involves? Download Remote’s Relocation Guide for insights and tips. Or contact our Mobility experts to learn about how Remote makes international employee relocation simple.

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