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Return to Malaysia uncertain Work permit holder workers at bay

24 September 2021


Reza Mahmud :
The Malaysia government has lifted travel ban on Bangladeshi citizens, yet uncertainty exists for workers  returning to that country.
Sources said, there are no clear directives about the stranded  workers who came to Bangladesh  last year.
Sources said about 25 thousand migrant workers who  came from Malaysia  could not return .
Kuala Lumpur imposed barriers on entering of  those workers to that country due to the covid situation.
Malaysian government announced travel ban on citizens from different countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan.
After decrease  of covid infections Kuala Lumpur cancelled the travel ban .
Issuing a notice on September 20, the migration department of Malaysia said that travel ban no longer existed  for nationals  of those countries.  
Meanwhile, the authorities are yet to make it clear  when the stranded migrant workers can return to their jobs in the country.
Apart from these, Malaysian high commission to Dhaka also issued a separate notice regarding the matter.
It said, Bangladeshi people including businessmen, long-term travel pass holders, investors and tourists can visit Malaysia after getting visa, having their covid-19 vaccination certificates and negative reports of RT-PCR test.
It also makes it clear that the visitors must have to be inoculated of full two shots of Covid-19 vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation.
Meanwhile, it also said that the employers can bring their workers using 'my travel apps', the notice said. On the other hand, Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, the human resources minister of the country said the government may extend  ban on returning foreign workers  stranded in their own country till December 31.
Such statement creates uncertainty about  returning to their jobs in Malaysia.
Sources from migrant workers said, Malaysia imposed strict lockdown since March 18, 2020 and then different times as per the infection rates hiking.
Since then, several thousand migrant workers have been stranded in their countries after going there on vacations.
The migrant workers have returned to the country using 'my travel apps' till June 2021 from November 2020. But lots of the migrant workers failed to return to  their jobs in the country on account of  high infections from Covid-19.
Kuala Lumpur cancelled the scope of returning of migrant workers since June, 2021 after imposing strict lockdown again across Malaysia.
In these circumstances, the legal work permit holders who have tenure of visa are living with uncertainty in their home. Several thousand of Bangladeshi workers waiting for return to  job there are living with peril due to spend all of their deposits.
The workers said, they have no earning in the country for long time.
When contacted, Md. Shahidul Alam, Director General of Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) told The New Nation, "It is not clear when the Malaysian government take initiatives to bring back these stranded workers."
He said the country is starting recruitment of foreign workers again to save their industries suffering from want of labour. In this view, we hope they might start to get back migrant workers soon.

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