Soheraf Hossain of Bancharampur, Brahmanbaria returned to Bangladesh from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seven days before Eid-ul-Azha empty handed.
Soheraf told New Age, during his four-month stay in the KSA since April 17, he was not given job of street cleaner for which he was recruited by Riyadh based Rawakez Company For Trading and Contracting And Industry Ltd.
He said that he had migrated to the KSA on valid visa with clearance from the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.
Soheraf said that his dreams were shattered by the unexpected ordeal.
He passed four months in the KSA in extreme hardship having to spend 91 Saudi Riyals he had taken with him by converting Tk 2,000, he had saved from his earnings as a sweetmeat shop at Brahmanbaria district town.
Soheraf said that after spending Tk 6.5 lakh on the unproductive migration to the KSA he simply became a pauper.
He said that on arrival in Riyadh he and 35 other male workers were received by the employers who kept them at their accommodation for four days after which they took them to Makkah Munawara in a group of 77 Bangladeshi workers.
He said that the employers left the group at a workers’ camp in Makkah Munawara for 45 days without any food.
At the camp, he said, the group jointly cooked their food spending the money they had taken from Bangladesh or with money borrowed from other Bangladeshis.
He said that none of them were provided with street cleaners’ jobs for which they had flown to the KSA at their own costs.
He said that the employers, however, gave each of them fake work permits, known as Iqama in the KSA.
He said when they had gone to clean up streets carrying fake Iqamas, each of them were arrested by the police and kept in jail custody for 36 days.
He said that the group from Bangladesh was never informed about the reason of arrest.
He said that the group was sent back to Bangladesh, in batches, the Saudi government at its expenses.
Md Kawsar of Brahmanpara, Comilla narrated a similar experience since his arrival in Riyadh the KSA on July 16.
Only difference was that returned to Bangladesh empty handed on August 24 and he himself bought the return ticket.
Officials said that none of the over three lakh male workers who went to the KSA from Bangladesh on ‘free visas’ since October 2016 got jobs in the host country.
Continuing recession dried up job opportunities in the KSA, said officials.
The government is worried about the experience of Bangladeshi workers in the KSA, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry secretary in-charge Namita Halder told New Age Thursday.
EWOE Ministry officials said that 90 per cent of four lakh Bangladeshi workers who migrated to the KSA since October 2016 on free visas got no jobs in the KSA due to its lingering recession.
Bangladesh Embassy labour councilor in Riyadh Md Sawar Alam confirmed over phone Thursday that the male workers were indeed getting no jobs in the KSA.
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