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Ban on BD workers in KSA goes today

By UNB, DHAKA
16th-Feb-2014       
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Bangladeshi workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) can from now on transfer their sponsorship and change professions as its labour ministry has already lifted the ban in this regard.
The ban withdrawal will come into effect today.
"The Ministry of Labour has lifted the ban on Bangladeshi workers transferring their sponsorship and changing their professions effective from Sunday," KSA's largest English daily The Arab News reported on Saturday quoting an official of the ministry.
The move is in line with a recommendation made by a committee set up under a royal order comprising the ministries of foreign affairs, interior, culture and information and labour, it says.
Ziyad Al-Sayigh, undersecretary for customer services and work relations at the Labor Ministry, said this service would be available through the ministry's electronic portal.
Those who do not qualify include workers who have criminal records, are involved in litigation, runaways, and entered the Kingdom illegally, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Mohammed Nazmul Islam, consul general of Bangladesh, told Arab News the move has restored the status of his country's workers after the ban was introduced five years ago.
This would allow many workers to return to the country, he said.
He thanked the Saudi government for the decision.
"The Saudi authorities have informed us that they will accept all requests for sponsorship transfers and the issue of new visas effective from Sunday."
The envoy said that the ban had resulted in many Bangladesh workers leaving the country after the end of the amnesty period.
About eight lakh Bangladeshi workers rectified their status during the grace period, while about 1,000 left the Kingdom for good.
The Kingdom had until 2008 recruited about 1.50 lakh Bangladeshis annually, but this was cut down significantly from 2009 onwards, with imposition of the ban on sponsorship transfers.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had repeatedly urged the Kingdom to issue more visas for Bangladeshi workers and lift the ban.
Saudi Arabia sent an 8-member delegation led by Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Haja of the Interior Ministry on a tour to Bangladesh in 2013 in order to study the labour recruitment process and security checks in the country.
Bangladesh has now started to provide intensive training for the workers seeking jobs in the Kingdom, including a programme on the local culture and Arabic lessons.
Dhaka has also proposed that Riyadh avoid intermediaries and introduce a government-to-government system for recruiting workers for more transparency.

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