Dhaka urges Riyadh to extend amnesty time
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni will fly to Riyadh on June 19 to request the Saudi Arabian government to extend the general amnesty period for Bangladeshi workers allowing them to legalise their status.
The amnesty, declared on May 10, allows irregular foreign workers to have their status legalised or return home without facing any penalty. The amnesty will end on July 3.
“We already have officially requested the Saudi government to extend the amnesty period as the embassy would not be able to complete issuance of passports and correct the status of lakhs of Bangladeshi workers [within the current amnesty period],” said a senior official of the foreign ministry.
The official told The Daily Star yesterday that the Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh has already made official communication requesting to extend the period. Subsequently, the foreign ministry also sent similar letter to Saudi Embassy in Dhaka to convey Bangladesh government’s request.
According to officials, around four lakh Bangladeshi workers in Saudi Arabia under the amnesty will get their status legalised.
Foreign ministry sources said until Wednesday, a total of 1,66,480 Bangladeshis have corrected their status through receiving consular services from the embassy office in Riyadh and consulate office in Jeddah.
Currently, over two millions Bangladeshis are working in Saudi Arabia.
Prior to visiting Saudi Arabia, the foreign minister will undertake a bilateral visit to Kuwait on June 18 at the invitation of her Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Sabah Khaled.
During a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sabah Khaled, the foreign minister is expected to request him for setting up an oil refinery and to consider deferred payment of Bangladesh’s import of petroleum products from Kuwait, said foreign ministry sources.
She will also ask her counterpart to encourage Kuwaiti investors to explore investment opportunities in Bangladesh.
Dipu Moni will also hold discussion on recruitment of more skilled and semi-skilled workforce including doctors and engineers from Bangladesh by waiving current ban on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers.
Around two lakh Bangladeshis are working now in the oil-rich country.