22 January 2017, Sun, 8:23

Bangladesh passports rank low globally

At the age of free flow of capital and liberal visa regime, Bangladeshi travellers hold passports that are considered one of ‘worst’ ones in terms of easy access to any another country.

The Bangladesh passport holders enjoy visa-free entry or can obtain visa on arrival to only 35 countries out of 193 UN member states and six more territories, according to Arton Capital's Passport Index.

The ranking 2017 shows that Germany with visa-free or on-arrival visa facility in 157 countries and territories has the strongest passport followed by Singapore, which has the most powerful passports in Asia.

Obtaining citizenship by investing in another country has become a common phenomenon these days and some 20,000 investors reportedly seek a second residency or citizenship around the world every year.

Many Bangladeshis are allegedly buying properties in a number of countries in Asia, the Middle East, Australia and North America to make a second home and secure passports in most cases. Also, around $9 billion is siphoned off from Bangladesh every year, found aid global report on illicit money.

"The desire to improve opportunity and security transcends borders. As such, having a second citizenship has never been more relevant," John Hanafin, CEO of Arton Capital, was quoted to have said.

Arton Capital, a global advisory for residence and citizenship solutions, updates the passport index assigning a "visa-free score" according to the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with visa on arrival.

The top 10 countries in its list are Germany (157); Singapore and Sweden (156); Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, the UK and the USA (155); Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Portugal and Japan (154); Malaysia, Ireland, Canada, and New Zealand (153); Greece, South Korea and Australia (152); Czech Republic and Iceland (151); Hungary (150); Malta and Poland (149); and Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania and Latvia (148).

At the bottom of the list of countries that each requires a visa application from every other country in the world are Afghanistan, Somalia and Turkmenistan.

Among the SAARC countries, Sri Lankans enjoy entry visa-free or visa on arrival facility to 35 countries and Nepal 37 countries, Pakistan 26 countries and India to 46 countries. Even a major country like China ranks low having such facility in 57 countries and territories.

The countries that provide Bangladeshi travellers visa-free facility are Bahamas, Barbados, Bhutan, Dominica, Fiji, Grenada, Haiti, Indonesia, Jamaica, Lesotho, Micronesia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu.

The countries that offer Bangladeshi travellers visa on arrival are Cambodia, Cape Verve, Comoros, Djibouti, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nepal, Samoa, Seychelles, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu and Uganda.

There is a see-saw in Sri Lanka’s visa on arrival facility for Bangladeshis, although the SAARC nation has reportedly resumed the process of issuing visa on arrival.