3.5 lakh Bangladeshis legalised so far in KSA
Amnesty deadline expires on Nov 3Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan
About 3.5 lakh Bangladeshi workers in Saudi Arabia have been legalised up to October 10 by taking their passports and other documents from the embassy, according to Bangladesh embassy in Riyadh.
The undocumented Bangladeshi workers were in a rush to the embassy in Riyadh to get legalised after the Saudi government extended the deadline till November 3.
Emdadul Haque, labour counselor at Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh, told New Age over phone on Thursday that Bangladeshi workers were taking their documents from the embassy for legalisation of their residency and job status.
As the deadline approaches, Bangladeshi workers were in a rush to the embassy, he said.
‘It will be really difficult to say exactly how many undocumented workers will get the chance to be legalised within the deadline,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Jeddah-based daily Arab News on Thursday reported that Saudi ministry of labour has urged private organisations, individuals and the expatriate workers to legalise their status before the fast-approaching deadline of November 3 when the amnesty period will end.
Ziyad Al-Sayigh, deputy minister for customer services and labour relations, said that the ministry had directed various labour bureaus to work overtime, even during weekends and the Eid-Ul-Azha holidays.
Expatriate workers can transfer their sponsorship from one company to another and they can also change their profession, with the exception of those who need to be in possession of professional certificates,’ he said.
Al-Sayigh said individuals must cooperate in achieving the objectives of the normalisation campaign. ‘It is a national duty to help fix irregularities in the labour market.
The main cause for negative growth in some sectors is the concealment and employment of labour without work permits. Authorities will begin a campaign to ensure compliance with the regulations once the deadline is up, he said.
Anyone who has not normalised his status by the Nov 3 deadline will be subject to fines of SR 100,000 and imprisonment for up to two years, he said.
‘We have issued advertisements for legalisation in nine languages to avoid confusion.’
Quoting Emdadul Haque, the Arab News also reported that Bangladesh embassy in Riyadh has called for an extension of the amnesty period to legalise the residency status of 400,000 Bangladeshis.
‘We expect 400,000 Bangladeshi nationals to show up at the embassy to legalise their status… but it will be impossible to process their papers before the amnesty period ends,’ he said.
Saudi labour ministry on Tuesday announced that it has drawn up a plan along with the interior ministry to track-down and punish illegal workers and their employers.
‘We have formed inspection teams and given them the authority to conduct raids on firms employing undocumented workers,’ said Abdullah bin Nasser Abuthnain, deputy labour minister of Saudi Arabia for inspections and developing work atmosphere.
Saudi Arabia has been recruiting workers from Bangladesh since 1976. So far, about 26.24 lakh Bangladeshi workers have gone to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for employment since 1976, according to records at the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.
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