Over 93,000 migrant workers with expired visas: Minister

Published : 21:15, Jan 26, 2020 | Updated : 21:25, Jan 26, 2020

Labourers work near the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, in Dubai in this May 9, 2013. REUTERS/FilesForeign Minister AK Abdul Momen has informed the parliament that over 93,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers have been staying in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Iran, Egypt and South Korea illegally as the validity of their visas have expired.
“Of them, 80,000 are staying in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 5,000 in Kuwait, 1,500 in Iran, 4,000 in Egypt and 2,500 in South Korea,” he said while replying to a tabled question from treasury bench member M Abdul Latif in the House on Sunday (Jan 26).
Momen said there are also some expatriates in different countries who have got their visas expired, but the government couldn’t yet identify their exact number instantly.
About Saudi Arabia, the minister said, the Saudi government in December 22 last year announced a “Special Exit Programme” paving the way for illegal workers the validity of whose visas have expired to return to their native countries.
The Bangladesh Consulate office in Jeddah has started providing service to Bangladeshi migrants under the programme as per the Saudi government’s guidelines, he added.
“The migrant workers who will return to their countries under the Special Exit Programme will be able to go to Saudi Arabia after receiving valid visas,” Momen said.
Due to the diplomatic wisdom of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh High Commission’s efforts in Malaysia, the foreign minister said, a total of 600,000 Bangladeshi workers got the opportunity of applying for becoming legal workers in Malaysia between 2016 and 2018.
Of them, around 400,000 workers got the validity to work in Malaysia, he said, adding, “There is no process right now in Malaysia for having the legality”.
Momen said about 52,000 Bangladeshis have returned home from Malaysia over the last five months following Malaysian government’s declaration of general amnesty for the illegal migrant workers.