Friday, 14 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Italian envoy urges to be patient as 20,000 passports accrue at embassy

Published : Friday, 7 June, 2024 at 8:38 PM  Count : 635

Italian Ambassador Antonio Alessandro

Italian Ambassador Antonio Alessandro

Italian Ambassador Antonio Alessandro has urged all work visa seekers to be patient understanding the embassy's difficulties as currently at least 20,000 Bangladeshi passports are being kept at the embassy in Dhaka for verification.

"I invite everyone to be patient and to be understandable of the difficulties (at embassy) … So, my call to them is to, again to be patient and to entrust themselves only to official agents," he told BSS at an interview on Thursday while describing the huge backlog at the visa issuing process.
The Italian Embassy has been witnessing a surge of work visa applicants since July last year as many Bangladeshi fortune makers are targeting this wealthy European nation that host the largest Bangladeshi community residing in the European Union.    

"This surge in this volume was unexpected, and the embassy was too small and the human resources were not able to cope with this surge of applications," said the ambassador.   

Regarding the backlog of passports, Alessandro said there are at least 20,000 passports in the Embassy right now while there are many more applicants waiting outside for an appointment.

As his attention was drawn to a recent media report that alleged more than 100,000 passports are kept at the embassy, the Ambassador ruled out the claim and said, "Certainly not it (the number of passport) is 100,000 … I have no idea who gave this number."

The envoy said the main reason of the delayed visa processing is that the consular section found at least one in five applications is accompanied by a problematic and irregular document.

"Why we have not been able to process all the applications in time is (because) many applications were accompanied by some false or illegal or counterfeited documents. Our estimate is one in five applications is accompanied by a problematic and irregular document," he said.

Asked how long it will take to clear the entire backlog, the ambassador said that it is difficult to give an answer on when they will be able to clear the entire backlog as it depends on the problems that the embassy finds in each application.

He said the community of Bangladesh in Italy becomes larger and becomes more integrated and so attracts a number of people for family reunion, business tourism or family visits.

The ambassador said work visa is one category and there are other categories of visas - there are tourist visa, business visa, study visa, family visas and all these categories are growing in large numbers.

"All this is putting significant pressure on our embassy, and that explains the delay, because work visa is important, but also these other categories are also important, and our visa office has to work for all categories. So, I recognize that there are delays, and of course, we apologize to the public for this delay," he said.

Under normal circumstances, the Italian visa system works with the passport and the applicant leaves the passport through the VFS Global. Then VFS Global brings this application and the passport to the Embassy.

"Now we are not keeping the passport anymore. So, applicants for working visa now only leave photocopy of the passport. They keep the passport with them so that they can travel and use the passport for other purposes," he said.  

He said that the Embassy is determined to clean the backlog and give an answer to all applicants whose passports are now under verifying process at the embassy.   

Asked whether he is facing any pressure of the visa seekers to clear the backlog, the envoy said, "The pressure is for us only to do our job ... so other form of pressure is not relevant here."

The ambassador said they have taken some measures and one is to acquire new space which will be a larger space, more functional for the visa office and the same for VFS Global.

"VFS also moved to a new facility, new visa application center, much larger and more functional and comfortable for applicants," Alessandro said.

Second measure is that they have recruited the two local staff recently and some additional staff from the headquarters will be added.

Regarding the safe migration issue, the ambassador said there is a practice of paying middlemen very high amount of money to organize the transfer to Italy which is an illegal practice both in Italy and in Bangladesh.  

In many cases, he said, the migrant pay this money but doesn't even know where he is going and what kind of work he is going to do for which company.

The Ambassador said applicants should be careful when they entrust their money to someone to organize their migration and they should only refer to official agencies and should refuse to pay this large amount of money to middlemen and brokers.

"Our official agency for visa processing is VFS Global. They are the only one authorized to collect documents for visa applications," he mentioned.

He said the entry to Italy for a working migrant implies four steps - sponsorship by a company, working permit by Italian government, visa by the Italian embassy and entry by the immigration control at the border.

"In fact, they, many of them (work visa seekers) are rejected because the sponsorship is fake or the working permit is counterfeited," he said.


Related Topics

Italian envoy urges   to be patient   as 20000 passports   accrue at embassy  

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