Govt seeks amnesty for Bangladeshi workers in Kuwait
Bangladesh has appealed for general amnesty for its workers in Kuwait in the wake of deportation of illegal migrants by the Gulf state.
It appealed for an amnesty similar to one granted by Saudi Arabia in May.
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni will visit Kuwait today to hold discussions with the country's ameer, prime minister and deputy prime minister.
She will discuss recruitment of more skilled and semi-skilled workers, including doctors and engineers, from Bangladesh by waiving the current ban on recruiting Bangladeshi workers.
The minister will also talk about setting up an oil refinery and considering deferred payment on Bangladesh's import of petroleum products from Kuwait, said officials in the foreign ministry.
However, Kuwaiti newspapers have recently reported that the government deported hundreds of foreign workers for staying without legal visa or residency papers in the last few months.
“We conveyed our concern that legal workers should not be deported, and the deported people should be given their salaries and dues from their sponsors,” said KM Ali Reza, first secretary (labour) of Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait.
“Since a crackdown started April, only around 150 Bangladeshis have been deported,” he told The Daily Star over phone.
Currently, around two lakh Bangladeshis are working in the oil-rich country before a ban on recruitment from Bangladesh seven years ago in 2006.
Reza said the Gulf state launched the crackdown to deport expatriates staying illegally after a problem with the ratio of foreigners to Kuwaitis.
“Now, the migration of foreign workers to Kuwait remains closed as the number of foreigners, which is around two-thirds of the total population, has exceeded the number of Kuwaitis,” he added.
The oil-rich country relies heavily on foreign workers to perform low-paying, strenuous jobs in sectors such as construction and services; foreigners make up about 69 percent of Kuwait's 3.8 million population, reports Reuters.
The Kuwait government has decided to cut the number of expatriates to 100,000 a year, reports Arab News.