New deal leaves jobs of 5,000 in limbo | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 07, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 07, 2010

Manpower Export to Libya

New deal leaves jobs of 5,000 in limbo

Fate of over 5,000 Bangladeshis, who had been issued work visas for Libya, seem to be in jeopardy, as Bangladesh mission in Tripoli allegedly did not attest job-demand letters.
The complications originated during the recent visit of a Bangladesh delegation to Libya where both the countries decided that instead of the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli, Libyan Labour Department would authenticate job demands of Libyan employers.
It was then agreed that the Libyan embassy in Dhaka would attest the employment contracts before Bangladesh government issues emigration clearance to workers to ensure that each and every position in Libya joined by the Bangladeshis is genuine and they get due salaries and other facilities.
“Prior to the new bilateral arrangement Libyan employers issued a good number of demand letters. The Libyan embassy in Dhaka also issued around 5,000 work visas in the meantime, but the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli did not attest the demand letters,” said Ghulam Mustafa, president of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira).
Several thousand more visas got stuck in the pipeline in the same manner, he told The Daily Star.
The Libyan government brought about change in the system reasoning that attestation of the employment contracts by the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli was cumbersome, which delayed the hiring process annoying the employers, said a member of the Bangladesh delegation to Libya.
Recruiting agencies welcomed the decision saying that they faced a lot of hassles in getting the job-demand letters attested by the Bangladesh embassy in Tripoli. Some alleged that they even had to bribe the officials of Bangladesh embassy there to obtain the attestation.
They said Libyan employers are disappointed at the delays in attesting. Since they needed workers urgently, they had finalised all processing for the Libyan embassy in Dhaka to issue the visas.
"Now that the visas have been issued, the Libyan embassy does not feel the need to attest the job contracts," said a recruiting agent.
Mustafa said the recruiting agencies are now in trouble, as the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) is not issuing emigration clearances against the visas since the demand letters were not authenticated either by the Libyan embassy in Dhaka or the Bangladesh Mission in Tripoli.
As per the new deal, on receiving the affidavits of workers' jobs, salaries and other facilities from recruiting agencies, the BMET can issue emigration clearances, explained Baira in a letter to the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment.
Meanwhile, recruiting agencies said most of the visas would expire in a few weeks if the government did not issue emigration clearances immediately.
“Each worker deposited around Tk 1 lakh for visa and by now a good portion of the money has already been spent. So, there is no other way to compensate the jobseekers if they fail to join their workplaces in Libya,” said a recruiting agent.
The BMET Director General Khorshed Alam Chowdhury, however, said the emigration clearances could be issued against these visas only if, the Libyan embassy in Dhaka attested the employment contracts of this particular batch of workers.
“We cannot do anything more as we are not sure about the authenticity of the jobs and salaries,” Chowdhury said, adding that many workers had landed in trouble in Libya in the past, being deprived of the jobs and salaries they had been promised.

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