After a restriction of around six years, Bangladeshi workers in Saudi Arabia will be able to change their Iqama from February 16.
This would enable several lakh Bangladeshi migrants change their jobs in the Middle Eastern country.
The restriction on transfer of Iqama (sponsorship of employer) was imposed back in 2008, causing much suffering to Bangladeshis for years.
In the same year, the oil-rich country also squeezed the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers. Saudi Arabia now employs around 12 lakh Bangladeshis.
The reasons for the restriction were not known officially. But unofficial sources said it was for various irregularities involving the recruitment process, which the Saudi authorities wanted to discipline.
In a statement yesterday, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain said, “It's a green signal to Bangladesh that Saudi Arabia would recruit workers from Bangladesh on a regular basis soon.”
“This opportunity has come as a blessing for Bangladeshi workers as they have been waiting to get back their right to change job,” Mokammel Hossain, labour counsellor at the Bangladesh Consulate in Jeddah, told The Daily Star over the phone.
In April last year, the KSA had declared a general amnesty for undocumented expatriates and asked them to legalise their status or return home without facing any penalty.
Around eight lakh Bangladeshis took advantage of the amnesty, which ended on November 4 last year, and regularised their status, while some 30,000 returned home.