Nineteen Bangladeshi workers hold a banner during their demonstration in front of Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment in the capital Sunday morning. Photo: STAR
A total of 19 Bangladeshi workers, who returned from Iraq after being cheated by recruiting agencies, today issued an ultimatum to the government until August 10 for taking initiatives to compel the agencies to compensate them.
If their demand is not met by this time, they will go for tougher agitation programme, the workers told The Daily Star.
The workers were talking to our correspondent after ending their seven-hour sit-in programme in front of the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment in the afternoon.
While contacted, Expatriates' Welfare Ministry Additional Secretary Hazrat Ali said the government will consider the matter but it will take more time.
Between January and March last year, four recruiting agencies sent a total of 27 Bangladeshis including these 19 to Iraq to work for the M Kodia Company General Trading Company promising them lucrative salaries.
Each of them had to spend around Tk 4 lakh for landing an Iraqi job with a monthly salary of $350.
But their Iraqi employer failed to start his construction project and kept them in a camp, restricting their movement, Mozammel alleged.
Later, Bangladesh government brought them back home following a pressure from their relatives.
Of the workers, 11 returned from Iraq in November last year, while another 11 in February this year. Five others still remain missing.
Meanwhile, the victims filed two cases with Airport Police Station against recruiters -- Morning Sun Enterprise, Meghna Trade International, and Bangladesh Migrants Foundation -- under the anti-human trafficking act after their return from Iraq.
Police has arrested Nasir Khan, proprietor of Meghna Trade International, and broker Jainul Abedin, who was known as chairman of Bangladesh Migrants Foundation, in these cases, they mentioned.
Of the 22 returnees, only three people received compensation from their two recruiting agencies -- Idea International, and East Bengal Overseas.
But the remaining 19 are yet to receive reimbursement from two other agencies -- Morning Sun Enterprise and Meghna Trade International.