The Election Commission plans to begin registration of Bangladeshi expatriates in Malaysia on Nov 5 to provide them with national identity cards.
Once they submit all required information online, the expatriates will be able to collect their NID cards after coming to Bangladesh by just providing their fingerprints under the new system, Brig Gen Mohammad Saidul Islam, director general in the NID Registration Wing at EC.
The chief election commissioner will inaugurate the service through a video call on Nov 5 from the EC headquarters in Dhaka. The EC members and officials in Bangladesh High Commission in Malaysia will be present on the occasion.
Following Malaysia, the service will be available in Dubai in the second week of November, said Squadron Leader Kazi Ashiquzzaman, officer in charge in the NID wing. The online service will be expanded to other countries including the UK and Saudi Arabia, he added.The online service was supposed to open in Singapore first but the country’s tough regulations forced the EC to defer the process there, Saidul said.
The service will be open for expats in Singapore in future, said the director general.
The voter enrolment guidelines were amended to let the authorities issue NID cards to expatriates, EC officials said.
Expatriates can go to the EC registration centres in the countries they are staying or apply online to become voters.
One has to apply under the address of their last residence or father’s residence.
The NID will be issued after the verification by Upazila Election Officer and submission of ten finger prints, photo and iris scan.
Objections can be raised, changes made or mistakes corrected through registration centres or on the EC website before the issuance of NID card.
The service will be done in two phases, said the EC officials. Initially the EC will install a separate server and add a link to their website. The expats can upload necessary documents and fill the form by clicking that link.
The application will be sent to the Upazila Election Office for verification.
The EC will enrol the applicant on receipt of a positive report from the Upazila Election Office.
It will also set up registration centre in those countries to collect fingerprints and iris scan of the applicant.
At least 104.2 million citizens are registered as voters among the 160 million-strong population in Bangladesh.
The number of expatriate Bangladeshis around the world was 7.5 million in 2017.
More than 10 million expatriates are living in 160 countries for work now.
Most of the expatriates do not have a NID card.
The expatriates, known as one of the driving forces of the national economy, have been demanding the right to vote and NID card for long.