Situated in southern Asia, Bangladesh is a country bordered by India to the north, west and east, Myanmar to the south east and separated by Nepal and Bhutan by the Chicken’s Neck Corridor of south Asia. These borders were created in 1947 by the partition of Bengal and British India, during which time the region became known as East Pakistan. Covering an area of 147,570 km2 with a population of more than 160 million people, Bangladesh is the eighth most populous country in the world and in the top 10 most densely populated.
The name Bangladesh directly translates as ‘the Land of Bengal’; around 98% of the population consists of Bengali people, 86.6% of inhabitants are Islamic, 12% are Hindu and there are also small communities of Buddhists and Christians. Bengali is the official and most widely spoken language in the country, and the vast majority of residents speak this as their native dialect. English is also widely spoken as a second language, especially in public service industries. There are small numbers of foreign nationals residing in Bangladesh, including Indian and Chinese expats. There are also a number of indigenous tribes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, such as the Chakma, Tanchangya and Kuki people.
Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon climate, typical to south Asia. This is characterized by extremely varied seasons, high levels of humidity and hot temperatures. Between March and June, the climate is very hot, sunny and muggy. The humid rainy season takes place between July and November, and then a hot, dry winter occurs from December to February. The weather is hot all year round, especially during the summer months when temperatures reach highs of between 35°C and 40˚C. April is the hottest time of year and January is the coolest, with daytime temperatures of around 20°C.
Due to its location south of the foothills of the Himalayas, heavy rainfall is very common all throughout the country, with the exception of the dry western region, Rajshani. Most parts of Bangladesh receive around 2000 mm of annual rainfall, about 80% of the yearly precipitation falls during monsoon. There is also a typhoon season towards the end of November, when coastal parts of Bangladesh become at great risk of severe weather such as floods and typhoons.
Foreign nationals intending on moving to Bangladesh will require a valid visa. The Bangladesh High Commission, which is located in Canberra, determines the category of visa that will be assigned to the expat as well as the duration of stay.
There are several different types of visa which can be obtained by expats, all of which require different documentation and evidence. For example, foreigners applying for the Business Visa must present the embassy with an official letter of invitation from a company in Bangladesh, or alternatively a letter from a business based overseas stating the purpose of assignment.
Everyone applying for a visa must submit certain pieces of evidence, including a passport with at least six months validity remaining, an accurately completed visa application form, two recent photographs and the appropriate amount of visa fee (this can vary between different circumstances).