Job scope in Iraq suffers a jolt
Complications arose in sending Bangladeshi workers to Iraq, as its labour minister declared to resist entries of foreign workers, citing unemployment problem in the war-ravaged country just after Bangladesh approved sending workers there.
After a gap of six years since the Iraq war in 2003, the Bangladesh government decided to reopen Iraq mission and recently approved applications of a few recruiting agencies to send 1200 workers there. But Iraqi Labour Minister Mahmoud al-Sheikh Radhi on last Wednesday spoke about preventing any such bid.
He said many foreign workers including Bangladeshis and Indonesians already arrived in Iraq as security situation improved there despite 16 percent unemployment rate among the Iraqis, reported the Al Jeeran, an Iraqi online newspaper on October 7.
Quoting an official, the newspaper reported foreign workers started to spread chaotic activities in Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf.
An official at the expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry said the ministry is aware of the report and instructs the Bangladesh mission in Jordan to inquire into the matter soon.
When asked, Hazrat Ali, an additional director general of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) said they were not clear about the matte.
“If, except from the Iraqi government or private sector, the foreign companies hire workers from Bangladesh, I do not think the government authority can prevent them,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.
Hazrat Ali, who led a delegation to Iraq two months ago to assess the labour market, said the war-ravaged country requires many workers, though he could not specify the number, for rebuilding the country.
Meanwhile, Nazrul Islam, proprietor of Metro Trade International, which got permission to send workers to Iraq, said Iraqi government was trying to lobby the foreign companies to employ Iraqi people, but the companies are not interested.
“Foreign companies can recruit Bangladeshi workers at a salary of $300-400 whereas Iraqis want $1000. That's why the companies prefer foreign workers,” he told The Daily Star.
Iraq needs several lakh workers to rebuild the country, said a source.