Bangladesh Bank on Thursday issued a caution notice asking entities and individuals to refrain from transacting foreign currency for investment purposes to get citizenship abroad.
The central bank issued the notification as several entities were offering consultancy services to individuals capable of making foreign currency investments for immigration purposes in last few days.
BB issued the caution notice, taking the advertisements of the immigration consultancy firms into cognizance.
As per the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947, none is allowed to make foreign investments from capital account.
Under the act, only the central bank-authorised entities are allowed to conduct foreign currency transaction.
The central bank notification called upon all concerned to refrain from making any foreign currency transaction with unauthorised person or entity.
BB officials said that a number of consultancy firms in last few months had organised sessions in hotels and social clubs to facilitate migration to Canada, different Caribbean countries, the UK, Australia and some other countries upon investments of a certain amount of money.
Apart from Canada, these migration agencies are luring Bangladeshi citizens into migrating to Caribbean countries like Saint Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda which are considered as tax haven.
The capital flight from Bangladesh has increased in recent years with $5.9 billion (about Tk 50,000 crore) siphoning off from Bangladesh in 2015, taking the total amount siphoned off from Bangladesh to $81.74 billion in 11 years since 2005, according to a report of Washington-based Global Financial Integrity released in January, 2019.
It estimated that illicit financial outflow or money laundering from Bangladesh was ranging from $2.7 billion to $5.9 billion in 2015.
A notable number of Bangladeshi citizens have been investing money in Malaysia under ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ scheme without taking any permission from the central bank.
A total of 2,874 Bangladeshis took the opportunity on the MM2H programme until April, 2015, meaning at least Tk 3,506 crore was taken out from Bangladesh.
Bangladesh also ranked third on the list of citizens making Malaysia their ‘second home’, after China and Japan, and the number was four times higher than those from Pakistan and India.
According to the Malaysian government rules, to settle there under the programme, one needs to deposit liquid assets worth at least RM 500,000 (about Tk 1.22 crore) and show offshore income of RM 10,000 (about Tk 2.45 lakh) per month.
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