Bangladesh is under severe pressure to bring back its undocumented migrant workers and detainees from Kuwait, the Maldives, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Officials told New Age that these countries asked Bangladesh to repatriate the workers.
They said that there was the possibility that several lakh of ‘our workers became undocumented in these countries.’
Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry officials told New Age Monday that they received formal request from the Kuwaiti government to repatriate undocumented workers and detainees immediately.
There were some Bangladeshi detainees who have recently been released from jails by the Kuwait authorities due to outbreak of COVID-19, they said.
Officials said that authorities of the KSA, Oman, Bahrain and the Maldives already informed the Bangladesh embassies that they were thinking to send back all irregular migrant workers including Bangladeshis.
On Sunday, the issues of Bangladeshi migrant workers were discussed at an inter-ministry meeting chaired by EWO E minister Imran Ahmad at Probashi Kalyan Bhaban.
Among others, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and home minister Asaduzzaman Khan attended the meeting.
The meeting over Imran said that the government decided to repatriate the Bangladeshi workers from some countries due to coronavirus infection outbreak.
And at least 316 workers would be repatriated from Kuwait and relief and food would be sent to Kuwait, according to a press release.
The home minister said that the Bangladeshis would be repatriated after scrutinizing their identities and they would quarantined on their return.
The foreign minister told reporters that they received requests from some of the countries to repatriate irregular Bangladeshi workers. He said that Bangladeshis would be brought back.
According to a report prepared by the prime minister’s office early this year that 50 per cent of over 15 lakh workers of Bangladesh in Saudi Arabia lost their jobs on expiry of their job permits and became undocumented.
About 60,000 Bangladeshi workers were undocumented in the Maldives for years, a team of the Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry and the Bangladesh Overseas Employment Service Limited said on return from Male in June 2019.
According to Bangladesh embassy in Kuwait, about 20,000 Bangladeshi workers became undocumented in Kuwait.
About 40 percent of Bangladeshi migrants in Bahrain are became irregular, according to Labour Market Regulatory Authority of Bahrain.
And 180,000 Bangladeshis are working in Bahrain, said Bangladesh officials in Manama.
EWOE ministry officials said that in last five years about 51,000 Bangladeshi workers became undocumented in Oman after fleeing from their places of work.
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