People from today’s Bangladesh started coming to the United Kingdom from early twentieth Century before the World War-I. The community started to grow since then and became a distinct group by 1960s. Doctors, Engineers, other professionals and a good number of post-graduate students from then East Pakistan were active members of the community. Some of them also started businesses providing an initial base supporting the families and communities. The British-Bangladesh community played a very crucial role in mobilising international public opinion in favour of Bangladeshi’s war of Independence under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Due to their relentless efforts, London became the epicentre of garnering international support for Bangladesh’s Independence. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, possibly considering the contribution of the community and role of the United Kingdom, decided to return to free and independent Bangladesh in early January 1972 through London after being released from jail in Pakistan.
Since the Independence of Bangladesh, the opportunity was opened for the community to more engage in trade, business and professional sectors as well as new people, including students from Bangladesh started coming to the United Kingdom. By now, over half a million strong British-Bangladesh community operates around 10000 restaurants employing a large number of mostly Bangladesh nationals. Bangladeshi restaurants form an essential component of the British Curry Sector that has an yearly turnover of 4.5 billion British Pound. Many members of business community are presently investing in Bangladesh taking the advantage of investment-friendly environment/incentives given by the Government of Bangladesh. Bangladesh under the able leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been making significant socio-economic developments. The Government and the people of Bangladesh deeply values the role and contribution of the British-Bangladeshi diaspora in the economic achievements of Bangladesh in recent years.
The new generations of the British-Bangladesh community are excelling in mainstream British sectors of business, technical professions and in local and national politics. The community has earned for itself a respectable position in the mainstream British society with many of them awarded the titles like Member or Order of the British Empire (MBE or OBE) in recognition of their constructive role in their respective professional areas.
The high achievement of the community in the United Kingdom’s national political arena is the re-election of three women members of the community namely Ms. Rushnara Ali, Ms. Tulip Siddiq, and Dr. Rupa Huq as Members of the House of Commons in 2017. Ms. Tulip Siddiq is the granddaughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The High Commission attaches much priority to support the community as well as interact and engage with them. His Excellency the High Commissioner and other officers participate in a large number of community events throughout the year. They are crucial link between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom and plays an important role in continued strengthening of bilateral relations between Dhaka and London.