Undocumented Bangladeshi workers in Egypt are getting arrested and jailed before deportations since November, said officials in Dhaka and Cairo.
Following jail terms varying from two to three weeks, Bangladeshi workers mostly serving apparel factories returned home empty handed, several workers told New Age on return home.
They said that most of the workers became uncommented on expiry of their visa terms.
They said that the others became undocumented due to working in Egypt after arriving there on tourist visas besides some victims of trafficking.
They said that the traffickers allured some of the workers to leave Bangladesh promising jobs in Libya but left them in Egypt without any visa.
Expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry additional secretary Jabed Ahmed said that the Bangladesh embassy in Cairo informed him that undocumented workers from Bangladesh were facing problems in Egypt.
He, however, said that no Bangladeshi worker with valid visas faced any problem in Egypt.
On January 3, Bangladesh embassy officials interviewed at least 11 Bangladeshi workers at Mugamma Jail in Cairo, the embassy informed the EWOE Ministry.
On December 26, the workers were arrested by the Egyptian police at their residences at Mokattam in Cairo for staying and working illegally, first secretary (labour) Zubaida Mannan informed the EWOE Ministry in a letter.
The 11 arrested workers included Nejam, Al Amin, Sayfullah, Md. Emdad Miah, Shahin, Akram Hossain, Sirajul Islam, Yousuf Ali, Md Nazrul Shake, Mohammad Jamal and Linkan Miah, all male apparel workers.
Egypt recruits only male workers from Bagladesh.
Nejam of CharKhalifa, Daulatkhan, Bhola went to Egypt four years ago to work in a garment factory after taking immigration clearance from BMET, his brother Suhel said.
Nejam became undocumented after the expiry of his work permit, he said.
‘Nejam informed us about his problem over phone from the Cairo jail, Suhel said.
Also in the same jail is Sayfullah of Shimulia, Pakundia, Kishoreganj, who went to Egypt five years ago to work as an apparel workers, his father Nizam Uddin said.
Earlier in the current month, seven Bangladeshis were deported by the Egyptian authorities after each of them served jail for two weeks.
One of them, Khalil on return to Beparipara, Monohardi, Narsingdi told New Age over phone that he worked at a Biscuit factory in Cairo for two years.
He said that he had paid Tk 2.5 lakh to a broker, who happens to be a relative, to go to Egypt with employment visa.
He said his monthly wage of 2,500 Egyptian pound, was equivalent to Tk 10,000.
He said that Egyptian police arrested him with r five other Bangladeshi colleagues after they had left their jobs to look for better paid jobs.
Earning bread for his family of seven became his main worry now, he said.
In December, at least nine Bangladeshi workers were deported by the Egyptian authorities, the Bangladesh embassy informed the EWOE Ministry.
Since 1999, over 23,000 workers of Bangladesh took jobs in Egypt, according to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training records.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country