Saudi Arabia has decided to ease the immigration process for the pilgrims, which will be effective for the holly hajj next year, a high official at the Ministry of Religious Affairs said.
The Saudi authorities have decided that the pilgrims will get pre-clearance for immigration and custom at departing airports in Bangladesh for flying to Jeddah and Madina to perform the holly hajj, the official said.
"The pre-clearance will comfort pilgrims by eliminating the hassle of waiting for hours in long queues at immigration points at Saudi airports", Religious Affairs Secretary M Anisur Rahman informed, reports BSS.
He said the Saudi authority would soon send a delegation to Dhaka for working out the ways of pre-clearance at different airports in Bangladesh.
"The pilgrims will no longer be required to go through the time consuming process for immigration and customs on their arrivals in Saudi airports once the pre-clearance system is introduced in departing airports in Bangladesh," Rahman added.
He further explained that all process for immigration and custom of pilgrims will be done here by Saudi immigration officers prior to their departure.
Rahman said the government would request the Saudi authorities to introduce the pre-clearance system at all the three international airports in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet from where pilgrims fly for Jeddah and Madina to perform hajj.
Secretary General of Hajj Agencies' Association of Bangladesh (HAAB) Shahadat Hossain Taslim lauded the initiative of the Saudi Arabia.
"It will help a lot in ensuring smooth hajj management when our pilgrims can go straight to the luggage areas on their arrival at Saudi airports," he said.
As per Saudi Arabia's quota, Bangladesh can send 1,27,000 pilgrims to perform hajj in 2018 while so far more than 200,000 people registered for hajj next year.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah of Saudi Arabia had a successful experiment of the immigration pre-clearance at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for Malaysian pilgrims during this year's hajj, he said.