Over 93,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers have been staying in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Egypt, South Korea and Iran illegally as the validity of their visas has expired, said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday.
The minister said this in Parliament while replying to a tabled starred question from ruling Awami League MP M Abdul Latif.
Besides these expatriate Bangladeshis, Dr Abdul Momen said, there are other Bangladeshi workers in different other countries who have got their visas expired.
“But the government couldn’t yet identify their exact number instantly,” he told the House.
Of the total 93,000 Bangladeshi workers who have got their visas expired, 80,000 workers are in Dubai and the UAE; 5,000 in Kuwait; 4,000 in Egypt; 2,500 in South Korea, and 1500 in Iran, the Foreign Minister said.
About Malaysia, he said a total of six lakh Bangladeshi workers got the opportunity of applying for becoming legal workers in between 2016 to 2018 because of the diplomatic wisdom of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh High Commission’s efforts in Malaysia.
Of the six lakh Bangladeshi workers, Dr Momen said, around four lakh workers got the validity to work in Malaysia. “There’s no process right now in Malaysia for having the legality.”
The Foreign Minister said as many as 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.
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 has expired to return to their respective countries.
The Bangladesh Consulate office in Jeddah has started providing service to eligible Bangladeshi migrants as per the Saudi government’s guidelines under the programme.
“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,” Dr Momen said.
The number of migrant workers who have got their visas expired will be known through the ongoing process.