Monday, January 4, 2016, Poush 21, 1422 BS, Rabiul Awal 22, 1437 Hijri

Saudis open door for Bangladeshi male workers
Observer Online Desk
Published :Monday, 4 January, 2016,  Time : 8:20 PM  View Count : 8
Saudi Arabia has lifted its “informal restriction” on Bangladesh, allowing the country to now send male workers there, the expatriates welfare and overseas employment secretary has said.

Khandaker Md Iftekhar Haider said the restriction had been imposed informally to encourage sending female workers.
“We have sent 20,000 female workers under an agreement (signed last year) and now they have withdrawn that informal restriction,” he said, replying to a question at a press briefing at the foreign ministry on Monday.
Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque was briefing the press along with Secretary Haider on Bangladesh’s chairmanship to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

Bangladesh took charge of the global forum as of Jan 1, and is scheduled to hand over to Germany for next year after a global summit in Dhaka in December 2016.

Dhaka has a particular interest in the GFMD as it is vocal for protecting the rights of migrant workers in view of the fact that millions of Bangladeshis are working abroad.

Their remittances are the second biggest source of foreign exchange for the country.

Saudi Arabia is one of the top destinations for workers from Bangladesh.

Last year Bangladesh signed an agreement to send domestic workers to work in male dominated positions like those of gardeners, guards and drivers.

But, the expatriates welfare and overseas employment secretary said, the Saudis wanted 50,000 female workers first.

“They told us to send them even before last year’s Ramadan (before June). But we could send only 5,000. We continued sending people and the number has now reached 20,000. Then we approached them to lift the informal restriction on sending male workers. They agreed,” he said.

He said Dhaka also proposed for Riyadh to let each woman take a male relative with her. That would make the job market attractive for them.

“They (females) are less attracted because of lower salaries and security issues. We have proposed that women be allowed take a male relative with them. The male worker can be employed elsewhere in Saudi Arabia, not necessarily in the same place.”

He said the Saudi authorities have promised to look into the proposal.

Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque said the manpower issue would be discussed further during the foreign minister’s visit.

Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali will make a three-day official visit from Tuesday to the Kingdom.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected].