Bangladeshis top list of workers in Saudi cover-up businesses
Bangladeshi nationals topped the list of foreign workers involved in cover-up businesses run by illegal companies in Saudi Arabia, a study conducted by King Abdul Aziz University revealed yesterday.
The study carried out by the chair of Prince Mishal bin Majid on cover-up business research at the university found that such businesses sponsor 80 percent of undocumented foreign workers in the country.
Bangladeshi workers ranked first standing at 22.7 percent, as reported by the Saudi-based English daily Arab News.
Egyptians came second in line at 19 percent, followed by Syrians (14.1 percent), Yemenis, Sudanese, Palestinian and Lebanese nationals, it mentioned.
The study was based on the quarterly statistics issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry's Consumer Affairs' Committee of Saudi Arabia.
The sectors that witnessed the highest rates of cover-up activity according to the study are construction and contracting, followed by consumer goods sector and general trade.
The amount of remittances sent by foreign workers have increased, and the number of fake institutions have increased recently, which indicates that the existence of cover-up businesses in the Saudi market, said Farouk Al-Khatib, a professor of economics at King Abdul Aziz University.
Dr Tasneem Siddiqui, founding chair of Research of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), said the impact of the report on the Bangladeshi workers is a matter of concern, but there is no scope to blame Bangladeshis alone.
"As Saudi companies give fake 'Iqama' or work permit to foreign nationals including Bangladeshis, they can not avoid liability. Now the governments of Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia should work jointly to identify and take stern action against this quarter," she told The Daily Star.
Emdadul Haque, labour counsellor at the Bangladesh embassy in Riyadh, denied having any information regarding the issue.
"Arab nationals run their business and employ our workers within a procedure in which the employers become sponsors of the foreign workers. So, there is no scope for our people to be involved in such activity,” he told The Daily Star by phone yesterday.