Ever since seven countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, the Bangladeshi expatriates living in the country are in a great fear of losing their jobs.
However, Bangladeshi embassy officials in Doha, where, according to an unofficial figure, about three lakh Bangladeshis are living currently, said the expatriates will not be affected due to the situation.
Expatriates’ Welfare Secretary Begum Shamsun Nahar, while replying to a query during a workshop at the ministry on Wednesday said: “We deal our labour market carefully with the help of the Qatari government. So, the Bangladeshi expatriates there will not suffer despite the tension.”
Even Bangladesh’s Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam the same day said the labour market in Qatar for Bangladeshi expatriates will remain unaffected.
Seven countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, on Monday severed ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism and destabilising the region.
Many Bangladeshis expressed the grave concern that they might be sacked and sent back home if the situation continues. On the other hand, many others say their salaries and allowances would be cut by the employers.
Things became even tougher for the Bangladeshi expatriates as they have already started bearing the brunt of a price hike of everyday essentials in the gas-rich nation.
Mona Islam, a driver of Qatari transportation service “Mowasalat” who works in Doha, said: “The commodity prices have already soared after Monday’s incident. The vegetables, among other food items, got pricier in the meantime.”
“Potato prices have doubled since Monday as we are now buying each kg potato at 3 Qatari riyals. The price of onion also soared to 3 Qatari riyals, up from last week’s 2 Qatari riyals,” he said.
Mona’s colleague Motiur Rahman said the price of imported milk and other dairy products, especially those manufactured in Saudi Arabia, also saw a rise since the Kingdom stopped exporting goods to the Arabian Peninsula country.
Confirming the price hike, Dr Md Serajul Islam, Labour Counsellor of Bangladesh embassy in Doha, told the Dhaka Tribune told the diary products were selling at higher prices, but the prices of other essential commodities remained unchanged due to a healthy stock.
He, nevertheless, expected the situation to be normal as the Kuwaiti Emir has been trying to negotiate the matter with the Saudi King.
But, he claimed that Bangladeshis living in Qatar will not feel the heat of the unrest.
“Even if the deteriorating relation sustains for a few more days, Bangladeshi community will not be affected,” he hoped.
He also assured that the embassy will be open to the Bangladeshi expatriates at any emergency.
Serajul also said they urged the Bangladeshis not to be panicked or spread tension among themselves.
“The situation is being monitored closely jointly with the Qatari government.” Serajul said.