Prevent job seekers going abroad on tourist visas
An inter-ministerial meeting yesterday suggested stronger vigilance on the travel and recruiting agencies to prevent job seekers who want to work overseas illegally after going abroad on tourist visas from leaving the country on such visas.
“Such cases could jeopardize our labour markets abroad. So, we are finding a new mechanism so that none goes abroad with visit visas to stay back and work,” Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan told The Daily Star after attending the meeting.
Expatriates' Welfare Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Civil Aviation Minister Faruk Khan, Home Minister Sahara Khatun, Prime Minister's Finance Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman and high officials of the ministries concerned joined the meeting at the expatriates' welfare ministry.
Zafar Ahmed Khan said there are many such Bangladeshi workers abroad, and some countries have given objection to the issue on many occasions. Recently, it has been found that 300 Bangladeshis went to Libya via other countries with tourist visas, he said.
“If this trend continues, we cannot send workers legally, and that will be a big blow for us,” he said.
Ashadul Islam, additional secretary of the expatriates' welfare ministry, said it is true that the authorities cannot bar one from going abroad with valid visas, but there should be a mechanism to track the jobseekers going abroad posing as tourists.
“We will devise a mechanism soon,” said Islam, also head of a taskforce on overseas recruitment.
“Immigration police, travel and recruiting agencies have a big role to play here,” he told The Daily Star.
Requesting anonymity, an official who was in the meeting said those going abroad with tourist visas for the first time could come under special screening by police.
“They could even check if they have TIN [tax identification number],” he said.