The United Arab Emirates, UAE, is set to reopen its labour market for Bangladeshis shortly after an eight-year embargo, according to the country's envoy to the Gulf country.
Muhammad Imran, Bangladesh's ambassador to the UAE, said a joint technical group would be ironing out "procedural issues," before start of the process afresh, the Arab News reported on Saturday.
Bangladesh's envoy was honoured with one of the UAE's highest civilian accolades on Wednesday.
Quoting the ambassador, the Saudi newspaper said the group would be made up of the UAE ministry of human resources and Emiratisation members and relevant officials from Bangladesh.
The UAE government held out the assurances during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Abu Dhabi last month, he said.
Mr Imran said that he was given further assurances on the labour export issue during his most recent discussions with the UAE minister of foreign affairs Abdullah bin Zayed.
He added that Emirati authorities had "some concerns" over the skills and security of Bangladeshi workers.
"We are working on these issues and hope to settle all things shortly," he said.
The UAE is the second-largest destination for Bangladeshi migrant workers in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia.
Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, secretary-general of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies, or BAIRA, said currently, around half a million Bangladeshis are employed in the UAE.
"Since the UAE stopped hiring Bangladeshi workers from 2012, it's been tough to track the exact numbers of Bangladeshi migrants over there. But I think it will be around half-a-million," Mr Noman told the Arab News.
'For reopening the labour market, we are now working on the terms of reference and expect to start the manpower export process by the (end of) first quarter of this year,' he added.
Currently, the UAE receives a limited number of Bangladeshi migrant workers as domestic helps and drivers.
More than 12 million Bangladeshis have gone abroad with jobs since 1976. Most of them found their employment in the Middle Eastern countries, according to data from the state-run Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, or BMET.
Of the total, about 2.3 million went to the UAE.
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