• Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 04:29 pm

FM Momen: UAE to reopen labour market contingent on certain criteria

  • Published at 11:24 pm January 21st, 2020
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File photo of Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen Collected

Both the two governments are trying to work out a mechanism to address the issues, Momen emphasized

The labour market of the United Arab Emirates will re-open in full scale for Bangladeshi migrant workers if certain conditions were met, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has told Dhaka Tribune.

He dwelt on conditions attached to securing jobs as well as a building of awareness among prospective Bangladeshi migrant workers about relevant laws and regulations of the emirates, rules and norms of their society, and significant reduction of migration cost.

Both the two governments are trying to work out a mechanism to address the issues, Momen emphasized.

The heavily migrant-dependent job market of the UAE has largely remained shut, in particular, for Bangladeshi migrants since October, 2012 due to rising incidents of unscrupulous labour trade practices by Bangladeshi migrants, and the use of counterfeit passports, visas and documents.

The Bangladesh government's efforts, until now, have failed to convince the authorities of the UAE, the second largest remittance sending country after Saudi Arabia, to lift the ban.

During Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's recent visit to the gulf state, home to around one million Bangladeshis, the issue was discussed between the two governments without any breakthrough.

Photo shows migrant workers at an airport in Bangladesh | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

"I did discuss the issue with the Foreign Minister of the UAE in Abu Dhabi on January 14. I also requested him to make an official declaration stating the reopening of the UAE labour market for Bangladeshis in full scale."

When asked about the reply from his counterpart in the UAE, he said: "They have agreed to our demands, provided that certain issues are addressed on our part."

Elaborating on the matter, Dr Momen said: "Look, people couldn't be sent like before. Workers will have to be sent in an orderly manner, so that the labour migrants don't face any problems and they don't create any problem either for the host country."

"They [UAE] want our potential migrant workers to have prior knowledge of the social norms and customs of their country. They also want our people to know about the country's relevant laws and rules before arriving in the country," he said, adding that in the past many of our people ended up in jail for not having knowledge of the laws of the host country.

"Those who migrate there will have to be well-disciplined - having been strictly trained or conditioned to ensure good behaviour, orderliness," he said, referring to previous incidents of agitation by Bangladeshis in demand of certain things.

Most importantly, the Bangladesh foreign minister said: "The UAE wants migration cost to come down significantly."

"Dhaka and Abu Dhabi are working to strike a mechanism to address the issues being raised by the UAE authorities to enable the full scale opening of the labour market for Bangladeshis," he said.