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Negligence of employers

15000 BD workers passing hard days in Egypt

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Reza Mahmud :
About 15000 illegal Bangladeshi workers are now in deep troubles in the Egypt as they have no work permit, sources said.
They are, therefore, passing days with panic of arrest and punitive action by the Egyptian authority at any time, moreover, for failure to obtain the work permit by this time.
 "About 15000 Bangladeshi workers have been doing jobs in garments and other factories in the North African state for long. Last December, the Egyptian government asked the employers to legalise the status of the illegal workers. But that has not been done in most cases within the stipulated time, throwing the workers into a state of uncertainty.
As a result, the workers might be constrained to pay the price for the fault of their employers," said Abdullah, a Bangladeshi businessman in Cairo. 
Sources said, there are more than 20 thousand Bangladeshi workers in Egypt. Many of them had gone there with tourist visa and they  were employed in different factories, some of them  are owned by Bangladeshi businessmen. The Egyptian government firstly did not gave any importance to the matter. But as large number of Bangladeshi men did not return home, even though they went there with tourist visa, Egyptian government has taken the issue seriously. As a first measure, the foreign ministry gave a chance to all the illegal workers to obtain visa and work permit. But most of the employers ignored the matter.
 "The employers need 3250 Egyptian pounds (1 Egyptian pound = 4.44 Bangladeshi taka) to get visa for each worker. But the employers thought that the illegal workers would need maximum 150 to 300 Egyptian pounds to pay when they would return home and that is why they work permit and visa were not collected lawfully.  It was completely wrong,"  said a Bangladeshi labour working illegally there.  
Now it has been a gigantic burden for the workers to overcome the hurdles. They even could leave the country without counting huge amount of money as fines. The immigration police of the Egypt announced on February 22 the illegal workers would pay 2007 Egyptian pounds as fine per year at the airport. In these circumstances, the illegal workers know not what to do. If they want to stay in the country, they need visa and work permit and if they want to leave the country, they must pay a large amount of money as fines. In this situation, all of those workers are now passing their days with panic of arrests and fines.
The immigration police of the country has conducted drives in recent months to hunt illegal workers in the Awal Gama area where most of the Bangladeshi owners' garment factories are situated. The police arrested about 300 Bangladesh workers in that drive. All of them were sent to Dhaka.
To avoid police harassments and fine, the workers are trying to get help from Bangladeshi embassy in Cairo. They urged the officials to do something for them quickly. The embassy officials told the workers that they were trying to find way to overcome the situation and to contact with Egyptian foreign ministry in this regard.
Begum Shamsunnahar, the secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment, did not receive the phone calls.

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