Baira suspends submission of workers’ passports to Saudi Embassy

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Strong points

  • Appointment of Saudi embassy pvt cabinet for visa processing annoys recruiters
  • They say third-party involvement will increase migration costs
  • Also, it will result in labor export syndication to the gulf country
  • Instead of the firm, recruiters offer the filing of a passport through their association

The Bangladesh Association of International Recruitment Agencies (Baira) has announced that its members will not send migrant workers’ passports to the Saudi Embassy from Sunday, protesting the mission’s appointment of a company private to manage the visa application process.

“None of us will submit the passports until the decision of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia to submit the passports through a third party is withdrawn,” Baira chairman Mohammad Abul said. Baser, after an emergency association meeting in Dhaka on Saturday.

All members of the association accepted the decision, as they alleged that the appointment of a third party to process visa applications would end up spoiling the labor market in the Gulf country.

On Oct. 7, the Saudi Embassy in Dhaka said it would not receive workers’ passports directly from recruitment agencies from Oct. 15. Instead, passports will have to be submitted through a private company called “Shapla Centre”.

Local recruitment agencies claim to have been able to present the passports to the embassy free of charge. But the private company will charge fees which will eventually increase the migration costs.

“We want the union and the drop box under cover of the Shapla center collapsing,” said recruitment agency owner Hasanur Rahman.

Saudi Arabia is Bangladesh’s main labor destination. Riyadh accounts for more than 32% of Bangladesh’s labor export – the country’s second largest source of foreign exchange earnings after the garment sector. More than 20% of remittances from Bangladesh come from the Gulf country.

In 2021, at least 4.57 lakh Bangladeshi nationals traveled to Saudi Arabia.

Mohammad Abul Baser said the mission’s appointment of a third party for labor supply from Bangladesh will hurt Baira, as well as the overall labor export prospects.

Suspecting a conspiracy behind the embassy move, he said, “Someone must have a motive here. Otherwise, the Saudi Embassy cannot do something like this on their own.”

If necessary, recruitment agencies said passports could be submitted through the association. But they won’t allow the third party in the process.

Referring to the embassy, ​​President de Baira said, “If the overabundance of passports causes problems, you can leave it to us. To cope with the queues of workers, we could set up a facility at our expense where you prefer.

He said the association handed the proposals to the embassy counselor, but received no response.

Abul Baser said he informed the Foreign Ministry of the problem and sought a solution, but to no avail.

“In India, a similar decision by Riyadh to appoint a third party was thwarted following protests. If Indian recruitment agencies can successfully force Saudi Arabia to reverse its decision, why shouldn’t we be able to to do ?” he added.

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