Lockdown leaves many Bangladesh nationals stranded abroad

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Published: 21:13, Apr 04,2020


Thousands of Bangladeshi people, including students, have got stranded in different countries in the absence of air connectivity as the coronavirus pandemic is raging across the globe.
The stranded Bangladeshis are living amid cash crunch while the host countries are putting pressure on them to leave for home.
The latest pressure has come from the Australian government asking all visitor’s visa holders and international students to leave the country for their respective home country.
‘As much as it's lovely to have visitors to Australia in good times, at times like this, if you are a visitor in this country, it is time… to make your way home,’ Australian prime minister Scott Morrison urged visitors on Friday.
He also stated that international visitors who had critical skills like physicians and nurses could be the exception.
‘Australia must focus on its citizens and its residents to ensure that we can maximise the economic supports that we have,’ he said.
Over 5,000 Bangladeshi students and several hundred Bangladeshi visitors have got stranded with the decisions of the Australian government asking them, along with other foreign nationals, to leave home, Bangladesh officials with knowledge of the matter said on Saturday.
Many of them also got stranded due to, they said, due to absence of air, road and rail connectivities, according to the foreign ministry.
Several hundred Bangladeshi workers, who were either detainees or overstayed their visa, got stranded in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait due to the lack of connectivity.
Nearly 200 Banglaldeshi tourists and medical service seekers in Thailand, 85 in Singapore and about 20 in Istandbul of Turkey got stranded due to the lack of connectivity.
Nearly 30 people got stranded in Mauritius and 20 people in Indonesia as they were in these countries as part of Tabligh Jamat to preach Islam.
Situation was, however, better in the United Kingdom, another major hub of Bangladeshi students, as a few students styed back due to unavoidable reasons, Bangladesh high commissioner in the UK Saida Muna Tasneem told New Age over phone. ‘Most of the potential returnees went back home with availing flights by March 30.’
Situation was also better in Malaysia, a major country for Bangladeshi students and workers, as the Malaysian government asked the employers to pay salaries, Bangladesh deputy high commissioner Wahida Ahmed told New Age over phone.
The Malaysian government was providing food support to the dormitories, she said, adding that the high commission was also ready to extend support to anyone in need.

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