Experts demand reforms in recruitment system
One hundred and fifty more Bangladeshi workers deported from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia returned home on Friday empty-handed.
A schedule flight of Saudia with the 150 Bangladeshi migrant workers deported from Dammam in Saudi Arabia landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 2:10pm, said officials concerned.
Wage Earners Welfare Board assistant director Tanvir Hossain, who manages the welfare desk at the airport, told New Age that they received 122 passes from the Saudi back workers, who did not have passports with them.
The rests might have passports with them and they crossed the immigration individually, he said.
Local migrant-rights activists and experts expressed concern over the mass deportation of the documented and undocumented Bangladeshi workers from Saudi Arabia, where the poor migrants got recruited paying huge money.
They observed that those workers migrated on ‘individual initiatives’ to work as cleaners, security guards, gardeners and drivers and for other domestic work were facing problems in getting jobs.
They often do not get job for which the visa was issued and ultimately they become undocumented for working under different employers, said the activists and experts.
Returned workers as well as officials in Dhaka and Riyadh said that Saudi Arabia was detaining both documented and undocumented Bangladeshi male workers, putting them in jails and finally deporting them.
On October 3, 144 Bangladeshi male workers, jailed in Saudi Arabia for various terms, were sent back home.
Dhaka University political science professor Tasneem Siddiqui said that the government should gradually discourage the permission of the individual visas issued from the Saudi Arabia as those visas were creating problems to workers in getting jobs.
She said that the government should ask the recruiting agencies in Bangladesh to collect more ‘job visas’ so that the workers could find jobs on secured conditions.
The country’s recruiting agencies seem to be inactive in collecting job visas from Saudi Arabia as the workers are recruited more under individual visas, said Tasneem, also founding chair of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit.
WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that the current recruitment system in Saudi Arabia should be changed as it facilitated visa trading that increased the migration cost.
‘Individual visas must be stopped, the workers should be sent to Saudi Arabia under bilateral agreement for their full protections,’ he said, adding that labour attaches should approve job demands after visiting the workplaces.
The migrant rights activist demanded that the government should compensate the deported workers cheated by brokers and bring the people responsible to book.
Bangladesh embassy labour counsellor in Saudi Arabia Sarwar Alam claimed that only the undocumented workers who changed their employers were being deported.
According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, 172,000 male and female Bangladeshi workers went to work in Saudi Arabia in the past eight months.
Over 5.5 lakh male and female workers were recruited by Saudi Arabia in 2017, the data showed.