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Tuesday, June 18, 2019 02:25:47 AM
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Urgent initiatives needed to protect migrant workers in Saudi Arabia

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05th-Oct-2018       
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 THE immigrant office of Saudi Arabia has detained at least 144 Bangladeshi workers and sent them back to the country although most of them possess valid documents. The number of deported workers from the kingdom would increase in the upcoming days as the Saudi authorities are like to come forward with a general amnesty for the immigrants. Due to Middle-East political turmoil and global economic instability, the Arab country is becoming a tough place for unskilled migrants. Strong diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia can be helpful for Bangladesh as our country is highly dependent on their remittances.
A total of 172,000 male and female workers from Bangladesh went to work in Saudi Arabia in the last eight months. Last year about 550,000 Bangladeshis went to Saudi Arabia on work visas, but many are unable to engage in any specific job there. Everyday, many of these helpless people throng the Bangladesh Embassy hoping to get help. Without proper documents, many Bangladeshis, allured by recruitment agencies, leave the country by arranging funds by selling arable lands, even homesteads. Bangladesh Labour attaché in Riyadh said many workers went to Saudi Arabia on free visas. They know that they have to find a job themselves once they are in the country, but that is not an easy task.
The labour counsellor pointed out that legally, a visa is supposed to be issued only after job attestation by the Bangladesh Embassy. But in many cases, the papers are prepared in Dhaka without attestations and the Saudi Embassy issues visas. In many cases, intermediary agents prepare the papers without the Embassy's attestation and submit them for approval to the Saudi Embassy. Experts said awareness campaigns should be run in Bangladesh to inform the public that anyone going to Saudi Arabia for work without attestation will face greater risks and difficulties.
We ask the migration aspirants to be careful about the proper documents, job placement, terms and condition of jobs before determination. The government should also immediately launch a manhunt to nab the man-exporters who cheat people.

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