Bangladeshi pilgrims performing Hajj will now be able to complete immigration procedures at Dhaka airports before heading to Saudi Arabia, said Religion Affairs Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on Friday.
The minister disclosed it at a press briefing at the ministry's conference centre.“Bangladeshi pilgrims will be able to enter Saudi Arabia through a jet-bridge after landing at the airport without any formalities,” said the minister.
It was previously assumed that the process would be hard for the officials to maintain as it’s a big responsibility, said the minister adding, “But we have taken all necessary initiative to complete the process properly."
The minister said, “We are ready to accept the opportunity as it will ease the whole immigration process of Hajj pilgrims compared to the past years.”
Earlier, pilgrims were required to wait in the aircraft after landing in Saudi Arabia to complete immigration procedures, sometimes waiting for up to six hours.
As part of the ‘Makkah Route Initiative Framework’, a technical delegation from Saudi Arabia came to Bangladesh on March 21 to oversee the pre-arrival immigration system here, he said.
Another 14-member team, led by Saudi Arabia's Director General of Passports Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al Yahya, came here on April 9 to discuss over the issues with officials of Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Hazrat Shahajal International Airport, immigration and custom departments, Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Airlines.Bangladeshi pilgrims will also have to complete a 10-finger biometric registration in line with Saudi immigration rules, he added.