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Legal status for BD workers in Egypt

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17th-Mar-2017       
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THE New Nation reported on Thursday that over 15000 illegal workers from Bangladesh are facing troubles in Egypt because they have no valid work permit and exposed to arrest and deportation. Most of them went to Egypt on tourist visa to try to go to Europe through informal channel in the first hand but got stuck up and took jobs in garment factories in Egypt. Bangladeshi businessmen have set up these factories to avail of duty-free export facilities to the USA and European countries. But as the presence of large number of Bangladeshi workers, now about 20 thousands drew attention of the Egyptian authorities, they asked the employers in December last year to regularize them paying certain amount of fees. It appears that the employers did not take it seriously and missed the time frame triggering the crisis.

Egyptian police are now mounting raids and arresting illegal workers. Most of these people are living insecure life while the Egyptian law also requires paying a hefty fine for illegal stay at the time of deportation. Now both staying and leaving the country appear equally agonizing and they are flocking to Bangladesh Embassy in Cairo for help. We believe this is the only way and our mission there should extend all help to them to get formal working visa to end their problem. They should handle the problem with all seriousness making sure that nobody will be harassed at the time of their peril. Bangladesh has excellent diplomatic relations with Egypt and we believe if properly presented, the Egyptian government will surely give legal status to those illegal workers facing troubles. Foreign Ministry must monitor it. In our view their employers should bear the cost since they are part of their workforce. Their inaction has made the workers vulnerable.

It is good that many Bangladeshi businessmen have set-up garment factories in Egypt. Some of them have also set-up manufacturing facilities in Jordan but what is important here is that employers must formally recruit workers from the country so that they do not face any uncertainty in a foreign land. We are always voicing concerns for safety of our workers abroad while making the point time and again that the government should have a clear policy to stop human trafficking and illegal immigration; which makes workers life unsafe.

In our view big budget does not speak about development, we should have a focused training programme for our workforce so that they can go abroad as skilled workers and on top of it they are not required to go abroad when people from other countries are taking jobs here. It requires safe business environment without political chaos, extortion and mugging. People can even better prosper by self-employment opening new businesses.      


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