UAE hosting Afghan refugees could jeopardize export of labor from Bangladesh

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People walk at the site of the Dubai Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Reuters

Evacuees will travel to the United Arab Emirates from the Afghan capital of Kabul on American planes in the coming days

The export of labor from Bangladesh to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is expected to suffer as the Gulf country decides to host Afghan refugees amid political instability in Kabul and other areas. cities, sources said.

The United Arab Emirates have agreed to receive 5,000 Afghan nationals evacuated from Afghanistan en route to other countries, according to Gulf News.

The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced that following a request from the United States, it would temporarily host the Afghans, after which they would travel to other countries.

Evacuees will travel to the United Arab Emirates from the Afghan capital of Kabul on American planes in the coming days.

What this means for Bangladesh

Meanwhile, Bangladesh has again called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to open up its labor market which has collapsed since 2015.

The Bangladeshi Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates and Permanent Representative to IRENA, Mr Abu Zafar, requested it when he called the Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization. , Saif Al Suwaidi, at the latter’s office in Dubai last week.

Bangladesh exported 215,452 workers to the United Arab Emirates in 2012 and the number of workers fell to 14,241 in 2013. The country exported 1,082 workers in 2020, 3,318 workers in 2019, 3,235 workers in 2018, 4,135 workers in 2017 and 8,131 in 2016.


Also Read – UAE Adds Bangladesh to List of Travel Restrictions


The UAE Under Secretary was assisted by Abdulla Ali Rashid Alnuaimi, Assistant Under Secretary for Communication and International Relations and other senior ministry officials, while the Ambassador was accompanied by the Bangladesh Consul General in Dubai and the Deputy Head of the Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Former Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) director Zillur Rahman, in an interview with Dhaka Tribune, said BAIRA leaders were closely monitoring the Afghan situation.

Zillur Rahman, also a member of BAIRA, said Bangladesh expects to recover the labor market in the Gulf country after the start of vaccination in Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates.

The meeting discussed the full range of bilateral cooperation and engagement in the areas of maintaining the employment of the Bangladeshi workforce in the UAE and skills development prior to their arrival in the country. The UAE Undersecretary highly appreciated the employability and adaptability of Bangladeshi workers and appreciated the remarkable contribution they have made to the socio-economic development of the UAE over the past four decades and a half.

While thanking UAE leaders for welcoming Bangladeshi workers to their country and taking good care of themselves during the pandemic, the Ambassador stressed the importance of training and education. Orientation focused on the employment of workers before their trip to the UAE as well as orientation on arrival. on workers rights, working conditions, UAE language and culture, etc.

He placed particular emphasis on protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, in particular domestic workers.

To this end, the envoy proposed that with the support of the government of the United Arab Emirates and the private sector, Bangladesh could either designate or create dedicated training institutes in Bangladesh and also develop suitable training modules for them. workers wishing to take up employment in the United Arab Emirates.

He further proposed that the UAE consider introducing a “skills certification” for returning workers who have acquired the necessary skills in any occupation due to their long years of working in the UAE.

The Ambassador also expressed Bangladesh’s willingness to host in Dhaka the first meeting of the Joint Committee (JC) on the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding on the recruitment of domestic workers from Bangladesh.

He also appreciated the government of the United Arab Emirates for granting the possibility, like other nationals, to visit Bangladeshi nationals for employment in the United Arab Emirates and then to transfer their visit visa to employment visa in full. tranquility while eagerly awaiting the reopening of UAE labor markets for general category of Bangladeshi workers as well as other nationals who have remained suspended due to the C-19 pandemic situation.

The UAE side welcomed the proposals made by the Ambassador and expressed willingness to hold the Joint Committee meeting in the coming months in Dhaka.

The UAE side underscored the establishment of a comprehensive and sustainable process that would cover all aspects of migration – namely appropriate training of workers, transparent selection and recruitment process, protection of wages, end-of-service benefits, rights and duties of all stakeholders (employers, employees, recruitment agents and governments). They indicated that the whole issue would be discussed in detail at the next meeting of the Joint Committee.


Also Read – Emirates Suspends Flights to Bangladesh After Air Travel Ban


They also discussed ways and means of close cooperation between the two countries in various international forums of mutual interest in this area, including the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, the Colombo Process and the International Organization for Migration. The issue of the return of Bangladeshi nationals residing in the United Arab Emirates stranded in Bangladesh due to the travel ban linked to Covid-19 was also discussed. The meeting ended with an exchange of gifts from both sides.

Meanwhile, during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit to the Gulf State, home to around one million Bangladeshis, the issue was discussed between the two governments without any progress.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said: “I discussed the matter with the UAE Foreign Minister in Abu Dhabi on January 14. I also asked him to make an official statement. indicating the large-scale reopening of the UAE labor market to Bangladeshis. “

The UAE’s labor market will reopen on a large scale for Bangladeshi migrant workers if certain conditions are met, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told Dhaka Tribune.

He focused on the conditions related to obtaining employment as well as sensitizing future Bangladeshi migrant workers to the relevant laws and regulations of the emirates, the rules and norms of their society, and the significant reduction of labor costs. cost of migration.

More importantly, the Bangladeshi foreign minister said: “The UAE wants migration costs to drop significantly.”


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