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Major labour markets closed to Bangladeshis: minister

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Malaysia and Bahrain have virtually stopped recruiting Bangladeshi workers, expatriates’ welfare overseas employment minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said Wednesday.
Replying to questions at a news conference he said the prevailing situation resulted from sending ‘excessive workers’ to these countries by recruiting agencies in Bangladesh in lieu of ‘higher migration charges.’
He said the workers who had to pay extra charges involved themselves in illegal activities to recover the costs.
He, however, welcomed a recent Saudi decision that allowed Bangladeshi workers to change their jobs and profession with ‘dignity.’
‘I hope the Saudi labour market will gradually be reopened to Bangladeshis soon,’ he said.
He also hoped that the Bangladesh government’s ‘labour diplomacy’ would succeed in reopening and expanding the  closed labour markets abroad. 
According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, manpower export from Bangladesh drastically declined in 2013 compared to previous years.
When asked, Tasneem Siddiqui, founding chair of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Units, told New Age that it was  essential to find out the cause why so many countries closed their labour markets to Bangladeshi workers when the workers from Nepal and Myanmar continue to get jobs in these countries.
There is no reason to think that there is a decline in demand for foreign workers in  these countries, he said.
Tasneem, also Dhaka University professor of political science, said that the government should adopt new plans to tackle the situation. 

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