Saudi Arabia is detaining both documented and undocumented Bangladeshi male workers, putting them into the jails and finally sending back home, returnees as well as officials in Dhaka and Riyadh have said.
At least 144 Bangladeshi male workers, who were jailed in Saudi Arabia for various terms, were sent back home on Wednesday with a scheduled flight of Saudi Airline, they said.
Those workers landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 2:00pm.
Riyadh-based Bangladesh embassy’s labour counsellor Sarwar Alam told New Age on Wednesday that undocumented workers who changed their employers were being deported by the Saudi authorities.
He called it a regular activity ahead of a general amnesty and said that police detained the undocumented workers and put them in jails for few days.
After out-passes were issued from Bangladesh embassy, the workers were being sent back home, he claimed.
The number of deported workers from the kingdom would increase in the upcoming days, he said.
Mohammad Yusuf of Haripur village, Akhaura, Brahmanbaria was sent back from Saudi Arabia within 15 months of his migration
despite having valid work permit.
He told BRAC information officers at the airport that he was employed as security guard at Dammam in Saudi Arabia. After ending his duty, he got out for a walk, leaving his work permit and passports in the room.
Police arrested Yusuf, put him in jail for seven days and now sent him back for not having documents with him, he said, adding that he went to Saudi Arabia paying Tk 6.5 lakh and was able to send home Tk 2.5 lakh in 15 months.
He alleged that Saudi police forcedly sent him back home.
Rowshan Miah of Sakhipur, Tangail returned home with the same experience. He re-migrated to Saudi Arabia after eight years’ break. He was also arrested at roadside for not having documents with him.
When contacted, welfare desk officer at the airport Tanvir Hossain told New Age that he received a total of 116 out-passes from the returnee workers, who did not have passports with them.
He said that most of the workers who were sent back were illegal.
Few of them, he said, complained that they were forced to return home within three or four months of their migration.
An official at Wage Earners Welfare Board said that those workers who were sent to Saudi Arabia with so-called free visas were facing problems in getting jobs there.
According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, 172,000 male and female workers from Bangladesh went to work in Saudi Arabia in last eight months.
Over 5.5 lakh male and female workers were recruited by the KSA in 2017, the BMET data show.
Local migrant rights activists have demanded that the government should compensate the returnee workers who have been really cheated by the brokers.
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