Protect the rights of migrant workers
According to a report in this daily on March 18, around 300 to 400 Bangladeshi migrant workers are being deported every week from Saudi Arabia. In the latest incident, 86 workers were deported by the country this week for various reasons, including for working in companies other than the ones that they were contracted for. What is more, many of them had to serve jail time before being deported to Bangladesh completely penniless. This trend is alarming.
It is unfortunate that our workers who migrate to Gulf countries, particularly to Saudi Arabia, with the assurance of getting a fixed job, are often cheated by brokers and recruiting agencies. Quite often, when they land in a foreign country with a valid visa and work permit, they find that the jobs they were offered actually do not exist. And this happens after paying lakhs of taka to these brokers and agencies.
In 2017, a TIB study found that workers had to pay between Tk 5 lakh and Tk 12 lakh each to get a Saudi visa, but private recruiting agents spent only Tk 1 lakh to Tk 2.5 lakh on each visa. The corruption watchdog also found that the business of sending workers abroad is almost entirely controlled by the brokers. Taking advantage of the ignorance of the workers, brokers often deceive prospective jobseekers. The government must take immediate measures to bring brokers and private recruiting agencies under a legal framework so that they can be held accountable. This will surely help stop the plight of our migrant workers.