DHAKA: The UAE is to reopen its labor market to Bangladeshi migrant workers “very soon” after an eight-year block, Bangladesh’s envoy to the country has revealed.
Muhammad Imran, who was on Wednesday honored with one of the UAE’s highest civilian decorations, told Arab News that a joint technical group would be working to iron out “procedural issues” allowing the process to take place.
The ambassador said on Thursday that the group would be made up of UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization members and relevant officials from Bangladesh.
He added that the UAE government had made assurances on the matter to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Abu Dhabi in mid-January.
Imran noted that he had been given further assurances on the manpower export issue during his most recent discussions with the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah bin Zayed but added that Emirati authorities had “some concerns” regarding the skills and security of Bangladeshi workers. “We are working on these issues and hope to settle all things shortly,” he said.
The UAE is the second-largest destination for Bangladeshi migrant workers in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia.
Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, secretary-general of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA), said there were currently around 500,000 Bangladeshis employed in the UAE.
“Since the UAE stopped receiving Bangladeshi workers in 2012, it’s been tough to track the exact numbers of Bangladeshi migrants over there. But I think it will be around half-a-million,” Noman told Arab News.
“For reopening the labor market, we are now working on the terms of reference and expect to start the manpower export process by the (end of) first quarter of this year,” he added.
Currently, the UAE receives a limited number of Bangladeshi migrant workers as domestic helps and drivers.
Meanwhile, during a ceremony on Wednesday, the Medal of Independence of the First Order was presented to Imran by Al-Nahyan in recognition of his efforts toward promoting relations and cooperation between the two countries.