DhakaTribune
Monday September 25, 2017 09:02 PM

Saudi government lifts ban on Bangladeshi workers

Saudi government lifts ban on Bangladeshi workers
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina meets Saudi King Salman during her visit to the Kingdom in June

The Labour and Social Development Ministry of Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers on Wednesday.

The ban was in force for the past six years except for the Bangladeshi domestic helps.

The new decision would pave the way for all categories of Bangladeshi workers which include skilled, unskilled, professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers, farm and construction workers, Bangladesh Ambassador Golam Moshi told Arab News.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia agreed to import one male domestic worker against each female housemaid. The process of lifting the ban began last year.

Moshi said that this is good news for all prospective workers from the country.

The envoy recalled that opening the recruitment channels from Bangladesh is subsequent to the meeting between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in June.

We are thankful to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for allowing us to resume recruitment,” Moshi said, adding that the Kingdom has always stood with Bangladesh in good times and bad.

Currently, there are some 60,000 female domestic helps among the 1.3 million Bangladeshi workers in the Kingdom.

Visas for male domestics were issued only from June, and there is a sizeable number coming into the Kingdom regularly,” he said, adding that 6,000 female workers on average are arriving in the Kingdom per month.

We have around 48 categories of workers serving in all parts of the Kingdom,” Moshi told Arab News.

In January, Minister of Labour Mufrej Al-Haqabani and Bangladesh Minister for Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Nurul Islam decided to increase the number of Bangladeshi housemaids.

Both ministers agreed to enhance cooperation in the manpower sector by addressing issues to reduce migration cost, imparting training to Saudi-bound workers, and recruiting more male workers for mutual benefits.

The Royal Court of Saudi Arabia approved the opening of the manpower market of Saudi Arabia for Bangladeshi workers from February 1, 2015, according to a Bangladesh Foreign Ministry press release issued that day.

On February 10 the same year, Bangladesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabia to send domestic service worker (DSW) under 12 categories every year.

A day before, a 19-member delegation led by Saudi Deputy Minister of Labour for International Affairs Ahmad Bin Fahad Al Fuhaid held a meeting with Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain and decided to import around 10,000 workers from Bangladesh every month for household jobs, free of cost.

Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and former foreign minister Dipu Moni also visited Saudi Arabia several times to negotiate the removal of the recruitment restriction.

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