Thirty Bangladeshis rescued from the Mediterranean while trying to reach the European coast have returned home to Bangladesh.
A Turkish Airways flight with the Bangladeshis landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Thursday afternoon.
Shariful Hasan, head of BRAC's migration programme, said the returnees were provided emergency food and water at the airport jointly with the Expatriate Welfare Desk.
The returnees said they first went to Dubai on visitor visas earlier this year and then went to Tunisia from Dubai, via Libya. From Tunisia they took to the sea and were rescued while crossing the Mediterranean on their way to Italy.
Of the 30 returnees, seven are from Shariatpur, six from Madaripur, four from Gopalganj, three from Tangail, two each from Faridpur, Kishoreganj, and Sylhet, and one each from Cumilla, Noakhali, Munshiganj, and Dhaka.
Earlier, 13 Bangladeshis on 19 August, 17 on 1 July, and seven on 24 March, returned to the country under similar circumstances. Many more Bangladeshis are waiting to return.
According to BRAC, the tendency of Bangladeshis to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in this way is increasing day by day. At least 5,278 Bangladeshis have entered Europe this way from January to August this year, and about 65,000 Bangladeshis have entered the continent illegally in the last 12 years. Of them, about 40,000 reached Europe crossing the Mediterranean, most of them between 25 and 40 years of age.
The number of Bangladeshi immigrants in Europe has now gone to such an extent that, the European Union (EU) is now insisting Bangladesh take back undocumented migrants. The EU has proposed imposing temporary restrictions on visas for Bangladeshis as the government has not in their view, taken appropriate action. Earlier in 2017, similar pressure was exerted. Bangladesh had then signed an agreement with the EU for the repatriation of undocumented Bangladeshi citizens.