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Saudi Arabia: Recruitment from Bangladesh and India to continue

04 April 2013

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will resume manpower recruitment from Bangladesh at a lower migration cost with a view to meeting the existing demand of foreign workers according to the Financial Express of Dhaka. Roughly 80% of Bangladeshi migrants are currently engaged in the construction sector.

The announcement came after an eight-member delegation headed by Dr Sultan Bin Mohammad Al-Hajja, minister for interior of the KSA arrived in Dhaka last Saturday to examine the process of manpower export from Bangladesh.

During its five-day stay, the delegation saw the activities of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services Limited (BOESL), District Employment and Manpower (DEMO) offices, Ministry of Home and Foreign Affairs, police verification system and other related issues.

The head of the KSA delegation said they are satisfied with the steps taken by the Bangladesh government for safe migration. "With the training facilities we will recruit skilled manpower from the county", he added.

The delegation will report on Bangladesh's overseas manpower sector to the Saudi authority and after that it will decide when and how it will start recruitment from the country according to Mr Hossain, the Bangladeshi Minister for Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment.

At the same time, The Hindu reported that the Indian government has allayed the apprehension of Saudi Arabia sending back Indians on a large scale because of its Nitaqat law which, among other things, provides for the mandatory recruitment of Saudi nationals in private establishments. However Minister for Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi had announced his intention to go to Saudi Arabia to hold discussions on the issue at the end of the month.

The government had dismissed the talk that the bulk of the 2.45 million Indians would have to return because changes in the Saudi law provided for the percentage of reserved jobs for Saudis to increase from 5% to 30%.

“They are not asking for the moon. They are looking after their own citizens,” said senior Ministry of Economic Affairs official A.R. Ghanshyam. He pointed out that a small percentage of Pakistanis, Yemenis, and Nigerians too would experience uncertainty while the Saudis put their law into effect. As the Indians were most preferred, the impact would be minimal, he suggested.

The government was in discussion with the Saudis to ensure the minimum impact of the law. But officials admitted that they could do little beyond cajoling them because this was part of the Saudi “internal policy machine.”

As for Indians who changed jobs without getting an endorsement on their visas legality, officials did not expect deportation of Saudi rule violators to be anywhere on the scale of the 50,000 Indians sent back in 2007.

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