The Memorandum of Understanding signed between Namita Haldar, Secretary, Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, Bangladesh, and Saif Ahmed Al Suhaidi, Under Secretary, Ministry of Human Resources, Dubai, UAE, on Wednesday, is expected to open up Bangladesh’s labor market. However, once the MoU is signed, Bangladeshi workers will not be able to go there freely. The UAE will first take the manpower needed at the individual level from Bangladesh. At a later time, manpower will be imported at the institutional level.
At a time when the labor market was shrinking in various countries, this memorandum of understanding was undoubtedly good news. Earlier in February, the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs to open the labor market from Bangladesh was requested. In response to that request, the country’s foreign minister sent a letter to Bangladesh informing them that they would gradually take some female and male domestic workers as well as some doctors and engineers from Bangladesh. And those who are already there can change their work permit or Ikama.
Statistics from 2013 and 2014 show that 80 percent of foreign workers involved in crime are Bangladeshis. Among the detained foreign workers, the rate of Bangladeshi nationals is 80 percent. Asked about UAE visas, an official said that in 2016, the UAE issued visas for 60,000 Bangladeshi citizens in the tourist category. Some of them have taken the opportunity to work there.
It is to be noted that the UAE stopped taking manpower from Bangladesh in 2012 due to various activities of the middlemen and the involvement of a significant number of Bangladeshi workers in various criminal activities. As a result, the labor market in Bangladesh is under a lot of pressure. After Saudi Arabia, UAE has the highest number of Bangladeshi workers. Even after the labor market closed in 2012, some workers had the opportunity to go there. However, the workers working there are in danger when the contract with the organization has expired. The problem is also in Saudi Arabia. Last February, the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry was asked to consider the matter. We have expectations, the UAE will make a positive decision.
After the memorandum of understanding, the authorities of Bangladesh must be vigilant so that the middlemen do not deceive the people. As soon as a country’s labor market opens, there is a cycle of how to get rid of people who want to go abroad. They send people there with false promises. In this situation, Bangladesh has to be a partner of notoriety.
Manpower export earnings have increased last year despite hundreds of adversities. This is the positive side. But with the return of large numbers of workers from Saudi Arabia, the new risk that has been created will be eliminated if it is possible to send workers to the UAE. The new MoU sets out the responsibilities of both the employer as well as the source and host country regarding workers’ safety. Therefore, everyone should be aware of this.
Until 2012, millions of Bangladeshis went to work in the country every year. Since 2013, this number has decreased completely. According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Manpower, Employment, and Training, only 4,135 people visited the UAE last year. 3 thousand 282 of them are women.