Around 300,000 new jobs will be created in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in next four years ahead of the World Expo 2020 that is scheduled to be held in Dubai.
Unfortunately, this is not good news for Bangladeshi jobseekers as the UAE banned entry permits for them in 2012.
The Bangladeshis have been facing huge loss since then.
They are not only failing to get fresh jobs but also losing their current jobs as their employers are not extending their job permits.
The Dubai Expo 2020 will be a six-month-long exhibition of trade, innovation and products from around the world and a showcase for the UAE. It will be held on a 438-hectare site on the edge of Dubai.
Mohammed Mahtabur Rahman Nasir, an expatriate Bangladeshi successful entrepreneur in the UAE, has observed that the Dubai Expo might be a great chance for Bangladesh to be benefited in many ways including sending jobseekers and attracting other nations to its trade and commerce.
“Unfortunately, it is uncertain whether our people can have an opportunity to grab these jobs as the UAE has kept the ban on issuing visas for us,” he said while taking to The Daily Star in Dhaka.
Every five year, the World Expo attracts millions of visitors who explore and discover pavilions, exhibitions and cultural events staged by hundreds of participants including nations, international organisations and businesses.
Nasir, who has recently been conferred as a commercially important person (CIP) by the Bangladesh government for being selected as the highest remitter in 2014, said the government must negotiate with the UAE for removing the embargo.
“If Bangladesh fails to participate in the World Expo 2020 in Dubai, it will be a great loss for us,” he observed.
As the World Expo will be a gathering of at least 25 million visitors from around the world, Bangladesh has a great chance to promote its products and tourism there, said the successful expatriate businessman.
Mentioning that the UAE needs skilled people for different professions and Bangladesh has the capacity to produce them, it is now essential to remove the barrier, he observed.
“It is true that the UAE had to take a tough decision against the Bangladeshis. But they [the UAE government] should not ban issuing at least visit and transit visas for us,” he added.
He, however, blamed some dishonest recruiting agents in Bangladesh for committing irregularities in the name of sending skilled people to the Gulf nation.
Hailing from Sylhet, Nasir, also the chairman and managing director of Al Haramain Group of Companies which has business in at least 60 countries including the USA, the UK, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, urged the government and the private sector to pursue the UAE government to increase trade relations.
“Both Bangladesh and the UAE have trade relations. So, it is a must to have visas smoothly to boost up this relations,” he noted.
Of 3,000 foreign workers in Al Haramain Group in the UAE, more than 2,000 were from Bangladesh before the ban.
But the number is now declining as they cannot renew their work visas due to the embargo, Nasir mentioned.
Now, they are hiring workers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal to run their businesses, he added.
Nasir said they do not have any alternative to hiring Bangladeshis unless the UAE lifts the barrier on visas.
He is now planning to invest in his own country with an aim to create employment opportunities in Bangladesh.
The UAE stopped issuing entry permits for the Bangladeshis in October 2012 after its concerns over fake documents and date-expired passports and visas went unheeded.
However, it has gradually relaxed the visa restrictions, issuing visas for residency and tourism and recruiting skilled and domestic workers from Bangladesh.
Some 700,000 Bangladeshis now live in the UAE, entering with visas before the ban.