Saudi Arabia will lift a six-year ban to resume hiring workers from Bangladesh, its labour minister has said.
Adel Fakeih made the announcement after an hour-long meeting with Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Khandker Mosharraf Hossain on Wednesday, Arab News reports.
The kingdom recruited about 150,000 Bangladeshis each year until 2008, according to a statement of that country’s Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.
Following a ban on hiring of workers in the housing and agricultural sectors in 2008, the annual average of recruitments from Bangladesh plummeted to around 10,000.
The oil-rich kingdom still remains the largest manpower market for Bangladesh.
Dhaka’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Md Shahidul Islam said, “This is great news. The Saudi government has taken a policy decision.”
“The expatriates’ welfare minister, visiting Saudi Arabia, has held high-level talks with the government. Bangladesh can send its workers there very soon,” he told bdnews24.com.
As for how long before the embargo will be finally removed, he said, “The decision has been made. They still have some formalities left, which might take a few days.”
The Saudi minister Fakeih underscored that the kingdom needed skilled workers, recruited through a transparent and online process involving all parties, during his meeting with the Bangladeshi minister.
Bangladesh had a data centre with more than 2.2 million workers registered for foreign employment, Hossain told Fakeih.
“These workers have undergone the necessary training to support their respective vocations,” Arab News quoted him as saying.
He also pointed out Dhaka had been sending the trained workers to countries such as Malaysia, South Korea and Hong Kong.