STAR file photo
Returning from Iraq with empty hands, 19 Bangladeshi workers today staged a sit-in in front of Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment since this morning, demanding compensation from their recruitment agencies.
The workers along with eight others went to Iraq through four Bangladeshi recruitment agencies between January and March last year to work for M Kodia General Trading Company.
The company confined the workers for 10 months instead of providing them work permits and salary.
Later, Bangladesh government brought them back home following mounted pressure from the workers’ family and relatives.
“If the government does not pay heed to us, we will launch even tougher movement,” Mosharaf Hossain, one of the demonstrators and a resident of Tangail, told The Daily Star.
They announced that they would stay in front of the ministry until they get any positive response about their compensation.
"We have decided to stay here overnight. We don't want to withdraw our agitation till our demand is realised by the ministry," Mozammel Haque, another demonstrator told this newspaper around 6:40pm.
Twenty two out of 27 workers, 11 returned from Iraq in November last year while another 11 in February. Five others still remain missing.
Of them, only three people received compensation from their recruitment agencies – East Bengal Overseas and Idea International Overseas.
Another 19 returnee workers are yet to receive reimbursement from Meghna Trade International Agency and Morning Sun Enterprises.
When contacted Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said the investigation is on to find out any irregularities by the recruitment agencies.
Asked whether Probashi Kallyan Bank will waive the workers’ loans, the minister replied in the negative.
Among the 19 migrant workers, eight people had loans from the bank but they could not repay the loan as they did not earn anything from abroad.