Saudi Arabia has sent back over 100 Bangladeshi migrant workers per day in the first 18 days of this month after detaining them on various grounds, according to Brac Migration Programme.
The narratives of sufferings endured by 1,834 deportees are almost identical, says the NGO-based initiative that provides support to returning workers at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.
“Almost all of them have returned empty-handed. There are deportees who went [to Saudi Arabia] only months ago,” said Shariful Hasan, head of the programme.
In the latest deportation, Saudi officials sent back 224 Bangladeshi workers on Saturday. They arrived in two separate flights of Saudia Airlines, Brac officials said.
A flight carrying 108 workers landed at the airport around 11:20pm. Earlier, another flight carrying 116 workers reached Dhaka at 12:20pm.
Brac Migration Programme, with the help of Prabashi Kalyan Desk set by the Expatriates’ Welfare Ministry at the airport, provided the workers with immediate support, including food and drinking water.
Shariful said the migrants alleged they were promised of fortune overseas by brokers and recruiting agencies.
However, they had to face various challenges in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Many of them did not get wages while several had to return within few months after they went to the Gulf country, he said.
“Now, they are worried about their future,” he added.
Besides providing immediate support at the airport, Brac has also taken the initiative to provide the deportees with counselling, training and economic support so that they can change their fortunes here, Shariful said.
Urging the authorities concerned to stop sending workers under so-called “free visa”, he said recruiting agencies have to be responsible and the government as well as the mission has to verify the abuse allegations made by the deportees.
Referring to Prabashi Kalyan Desk’s data, the Brac official said about 64,638 Bangladeshi workers returned home last year and Saudi Arabia alone deported 25,789.