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Oman – Controversy over rumoured curbing of labour from Bangladesh

08 May 2013

An official from the Bangladeshi Embassy in Muscat has announced that media reports in Oman suggesting that the government will curb recruitment from Bangladesh are unfounded.

A Bangladeshi delegation led by Khandakar Musharraf Hussain, Bangladesh's Minister for Labour and Overseas Employment, is currently in Oman, and it is speculated that the agenda of the visit is to protect its labour market in the sultanate after UAE stopped issuing entry permits to Bangladeshis in late 2012 citing security concerns.

Oman remains the biggest recruiter of Bangladeshi workforce in the Gulf region, with 14,967 workers coming to the sultanate in January 2013 and 11,719 landing in February.

The embassy official confirmed that one of the aims of the delegation was to discuss labour issues, for which the visitors met HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Abdullah al Bakri, the Minister of Manpower in Oman, on Saturday.

"The talks on labour issues are an on-going process and not something new,'' the official said.

He added that it is an inaugural visit by Hussain, which gives the visiting delegation a chance to meet various Omani ministers and improve bilateral cooperation.

Asked whether the visit is being viewed as a preventive measure to protect the Bangladeshi labour market in Oman, the official said, ''I don't know how this issue has come up, we don't see any hurdles in our bilateral relationships with Oman.'' Nevertheless the ministers discussed the importance of providing legal protection to Bangladeshi workers in the sultanate as per the Labour Law.

In the meeting, it was decided that recruitment firms will have to be licensed and accredited by both the Bangladeshi and Omani governments. The list of approved recruitment agencies in Bangladesh will be submitted to Oman's Ministry of Manpower soon.

According to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training in Bangladesh, a total of 607,798 workers went abroad in 2012. Of them, 170,326 came to Oman.

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