Friday, July 12, 2024

KSA restricts work visa

Many Bangladeshis working there for over 6 yrs might have to come back
A few lakh Bangladeshis might have to return from Saudi Arabia, as the Middle East country is soon going to limit the stay of foreign workers to address its own unemployment.
The labour minister of the Kingdom said on Sunday they would not renew work visas of the foreigners working for over six years in the companies that did not recruit certain percentage of Saudi nationals.
Tension among the Bangladeshi workers runs high following the declaration.
Following the Arab uprising, Saudi Arabia made a law requiring companies to recruit 20 to 40 percent of its own nationals.
“This rule will badly affect the foreigners including the Bangladeshis, most of who are working here for over six years,” Fakhrul Basher Masum, a Bangladeshi worker in Saudi Arabia, told The Daily Star over the phone yesterday.
More than 20 lakh Bangladeshis work there.
Zafar Ahmed Khan, expatriates’ welfare secretary, said a few lakh Bangladeshis might have to return home, but observed this will have a positive impact on Bangladesh.
“A worker staying for six years abroad should return home. Living far from families for long time costs them socially,” he said, adding, once the old ones return, new ones can go.
Saudi businesses criticised the policy, saying it is very expensive to hire the Saudis whose minimum wage is 3000 Saudi Riyals, while there is no minimum wage for the foreign workers.
Around 50,000 small businesses are run by the Bangladeshis in the Middle East country. An estimated 1.5 lakh Bangladeshis are involved in such businesses.
These firms do not have the capacity to employ the Saudis, which means all these Bangladeshis will have to return home, said Masum, who has been working there for several years.
Saudi Labour Minister Adel Fakeih said nearly 50 percent of the foreigners working in the companies that did not comply with the law can be offered employment by the companies that are following it.
He added that companies in the Kingdom will have until September 7 to implement the policy and that the expatriate workers should not worry.
Bangladesh’s expatriates’ welfare secretary said the Bangladeshis, working mostly in construction, cleaning and small business sectors, cannot be replaced by the Saudis who do not like to do these jobs.

 

-With The Daily Star input

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