Monday, May 20, 2024

BMET stops issuing immigration clearance to workers for Maldives

The government has decided to temporarily stop issuing immigration clearance for people who want to work in the Maldives in order to observe the experience of those Bangladeshi workers who are already in the island nation, officials from the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training said on Monday.
In nine months since January, around 8,000 Bangladeshi workers have gone to the Maldives, the highest number in any one year.
BMET director (immigration) Abdul Latif Khan told New Age on Monday that the government has decided to send a team to observe the working environment for these workers before allowing any more workers to go there.
According to BMET data, since 1976, about 28,000 Bangladeshi workers have so far gone to the Maldives.
Although, the BMET director told New Age that no worker had so far lodged any complaints, sources in the manpower sector said that hundreds of Bangladeshi workers have returned home from the Maldives without getting any suitable jobs and after suffering difficulties in their workplaces.
Some recruiting agencies in nexus with a section of BMET officials were sending the workers to the Maldives in exchange for Tk 180,000 to 250,000 per person, it was alleged.
Jashim Uddin, a returnee worker, now living in Narsingdi, told New Age that he had left Bangladesh for Maldives on May 17 this year with BMET clearance. He paid Tk 180,000 for a construction job after being persuaded by local recruiting agents.
After going to the Maldives, he, however, found that his work place was situated in a remote area where living conditions were poor. ‘My job was to work by the sea to build a small resort for the foreign tourists,’ he said.
‘The employer treated us so badly that he would not allow us to rest, provide water or Bangladeshi food,’ he said, having returned to Bangladesh at the end of June this year.
Jashim Uddin is far from alone. Five other workers from Narshingdi including Tuta Miah, Mamun, Malu Miah and Hakim Miah returned home from the Maldives in recent months.
Bangladesh Probhashi Kallyan Society, a human rights organisation, has so far received about one hundred allegations of similar mistreatment from workers returning from the Maldives.
Harunur Rashid, executive director of the society, told New Age that most of the returned workers suffered difficulties including having to work in remote places, difficult jobs, and food problems.
He alleged that some recruiting agencies in collaboration with BMET officials were sending the innocent workers to Maldives after they paid a huge amount of money.
Harun mentioned that he found that workers were being sent to Maldives through particular Recruiting Licence numbers (RL no-1116, 1155, 851 and 469).
Robiul Islam Robin, owner of Meghna Trade International, whose RL number is 1155, told New Age that his agency only helped the Maldives bound workers to complete their paper works at the BMET office.
He said his agency was trusted by BMET and it was not involved in collecting visas or sending workers to Maldives.
BMET director (immigration) Abdul Latif Khan said that most of the Bangladeshi workers left for the Maldives through obtaining their own visas through their relatives working in the Maldives.
‘If the workers were sent through recruiting agencies and they returned home without getting jobs, they should lodge allegations with the BMET to obtain compensation,’ he suggested.
Secretary general of Bangladesh Association of International recruiting Agencies Ali Haider Chowdhury told New Age that if the workers were sent abroad and they returned home without finding jobs abroad, the concerned recruiting agencies would be held responsible and should be punished.
If, however, the workers go abroad through managing their own visas without the use of recruitment agencies, these agencies cannot be held responsible for this, he said.

-With New Age input

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