Thousands of Bangladeshi workers in Saudi Arabia are fearing deportation as the Saudi authorities are not issuing residential permits to those willing to join new jobs on expiry of their present contracts.
Sources said residential permits have not been issued to expatriate Bangladeshi workers seeking new jobs for the last two to three months, which will result in a gradual decrease in their number in the Middle Eastern country. About 15 lakh Bangladeshi migrants are currently living in Saudi Arabia.
Bangladeshi workers living in Saudi Arabia usually return home on expiry of their job contracts. But, if any of them gets a new job, the worker can join it after getting another residential permit from the Saudi authorities, said officials at the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).
Talking to The Daily Star over telephone, Mohammad Fazle Rabbi, a Bangladeshi physician in Saudi Arabia, said he along with other Bangladeshi doctors, nurses and technicians has been working at the Rijal Almaa Hospital in Assir region for a long time.
On expiry of job contracts, many of them got the chance to work under the Saudi health ministry while a few managed to get jobs at private hospitals. But the Saudi authorities did not issue them residential permits.
Fazle Rabbi said his present job contract expires on June 14 and he will have to return home despite having an offer for a new job.
He said although they informed the Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh of the matter, it is yet to take any step.
However, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Abdul Matin Chowdhury said Riyadh has not officially informed them of any decision on not issuing residential permits for Bangladeshi workers who want to join new jobs on expiry of their present contracts.
Saudi Arabia in March this year decided to introduce a nation-based quota system for foreign workers.
Later, Saudi Labour Minister Ghazi Al-Gosaibi declared a partial ban on recruitment of Bangladeshis as house help and agricultural labourers.
He also said recruitment of Bangladeshis would be limited to Saudi organisations that need qualified workers in the medical and engineering sectors.
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