For the first time, 239 Bangladeshis flew to Uzbekistan yesterday for work.
The group left in a special flight of Uzbekistan Air at 10:30am from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan Director of HSIA, told The Daily Star.
In total, 888 skilled workers are scheduled to fly to the central Asian country on three special flights through four recruiting agencies, Bangladeshi Ambassador to Uzbekistan Jahangir Alam said.
The workers are set to work for an engineering Company in Karshi, about 450km from Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, overseas labour market experts are viewing this new connection with Uzbekistan as a positive development.
Experts in the sector said it is crucial for Bangladesh to look for new labour markets, especially as the demand for foreign workers in Gulf countries has been in decline due to various reasons, such as malpractice in the recruitment process.
This has also affected Bangladesh, as thousands of workers had to come back home from Gulf nations over the last few years.
In this regard, Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmad has said the government is taking initiatives to send workers to at least six new destinations. These are: China, Cambodia, Poland, Romania, Croatia, and Seychelles.
Besides, the government is also looking to export manpower to more central Asian countries.
Sources at the ministry said the government is looking for alternative job markets abroad as opportunities in traditional markets have drastically shrunk in recent times.