The Financial Express

Over 100,000 expatriate workers face uncertainty as visas expire

| Updated: July 16, 2020 11:52:59

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More than 100,000 workers, who are in the pipeline of going abroad, remain in uncertainty as the visas of many of them have already been expired, said manpower recruiters on Wednesday.

They also sought necessary fund from the government to realise the losses.

The leaders of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) were speaking at a virtual meeting with journalists on the current situation of overseas employment sector and way forward.

According to the apex body of the manpower recruiters, so far, it has received a list of 85,405 workers’ visas from the 320 recruiting agencies. Of those, some 2816 visas have already been expired. Stamping done of 19,198 visas by the embassies and 30,422 visas are waiting for stamping.

Some 22,987 workers are waiting for flights while 3078 flights have been cancelled and other issues 6904. Of the total number of visas, 85 per cent came from Saudi Arabia.

BAIRA leaders said the number of active manpower recruiters is about 1,600. So, the figure of visas will increase when they get all reports.

Responding to a query Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, secretary general of BAIRA, said they have communicated with the employers in Saudi Arabia for renewal of visas. Many of the employers gave assurance to do it.

But all the workers will not get the opportunities as many companies may fail to start their ventures, impacted severely by coronavirus, he said.

The workers who gave money to go abroad have rights to get back money if they fail to go there.

“So, we are requesting to the government to provide a fund to cover the losses as the recruiters have already spent a large amount of money to complete sending process.

He also said if they calculate the amount of total recruitment fees against 100,000 visas, it will be minimum Tk 15.00 billion. This amount was invested to complete the procedure of sending workers abroad.

 Mr Noman also emphasised the need for creating demand-based skilled workers to tap the potential of market after Covid-19 period.

He also said they have contributed Tk 3.0 million from the BAIRA fund for the wellbeing of returned migrant workers.

Benjir Ahmed, president of BAIRA, said they are working for exploring new markets like Europe, Japan and China. When the Covid situation will be eased then they will go for more work to create job opportunities in nontraditional countries.

BAIRA members were present at the online meeting.

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