A delegation of the European Union called on Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Monday to discuss their return.
"As per their estimate there are 250,000 Bangladeshis in the EU and of them 80,000 are staying illegally there," the minister told reporters at his office after the meeting.
"The delegation said they (Bangladeshi nationals) had been deemed illegal residents for various reasons like overstaying their visas. The purpose of the delegation's visit was to discuss how to ensure their return."
The government has asked the EU delegation to provide a list of Bangladeshis staying illegally in Europe.
"After getting the list, we will find out why they have gone there and then decide how to bring them back," the minister said.
"I have told the delegation that while they are facing a problem with 80,000 people, we are dealing with the burden of 500,000 Rohingyas, apart from another about 200,000 Pakistani refugees," the minister said.
"You have come to us with a request. We also urge you to help us deport Rohingyas and Pakistani refugees," the minister claims to have told the delegation.
Stating that the figure of 80,000 was inferential, the minister said no time frame had been set for the submission of the list.
In reply to a question whether the issue would have any impact on legally going to Europe, the minister clarified, "No it will have no impact. Even the EU delegation made it clear that sending back those staying illegally would not mean that their re-entry into Europe in future would be forbidden."
In reply to another question on whether their stay in Europe could somehow be legalised, the minister said, "The EU delegation has assured of all possible help in this regard."
Meanwhile, the BBC on Monday reported that there were Bangladeshi nationals among about 200 people who had been deported to Turkey from Greece as per EU's Immigration Control Plan. But the report did not mention how many of the 202 deportees were Bangladeshi nationals.
Source: Bangladesh's First Internet Newspaper