Oman yesterday deported 68 Bangladeshi workers for staying there illegally.
A Biman flight yesterday morning brought home the workers whose work permits had reportedly expired.
The workers were in jails for a short period before their deportation, said Zahidul Islam, assistant director (immigration) of Bureau of Manpower and Employment Training.
Oman has been the largest labour recruiter of Bangladeshi workers since the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stopped hiring Bangladeshis in 2012.
Several thousand Bangladeshi workers are working, mainly in the construction sector, without any valid documents.
Mymensingh's Khalil Rahman, one of the returnees, told reporters at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport that he had been illegally working in Oman for the last two years after going to the country in 2008.“Oman police recently arrested and put me in jail as my work visa had expired two years ago,” he said, adding that he was released from jail last week.
Many Bangladeshi workers alleged that they had been deported illegally by their Kafeels (sponsors or employers) even though they had all the documents.
Md Elias, who hails from Brahmanbaria, had gone to Oman last year. He claimed that his employer used to beat him up whenever he demanded his salary.
“I had spent Tk 2 lakh to get the work permit in Oman but hardly got a Tk 10,000 salary a month,” Elias said as tears rolled down his cheeks.
Shohab Hossain of Kishoreganj made similar allegation against his employer.
“Though I was working legally, my Kafeel deported me for not paying him toll,” said the worker.
“I went to Oman with a driving visa [visa for working as a driver] in 2012 but my sponsor engaged me in a construction firm and demanded toll every month,” said Shorab.
Many of the workers alleged that they did not receive any assistance from the Bangladesh embassy in Oman.
Denying the allegation, Khondaker Showkat Hossain, secretary of expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry, said that no legal workers were forced to leave Oman.