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Oman suspends manpower import from Bangladesh

Oil-rich Oman is suspending for six months the import of foreign manpower for its cleaning and construction sectors for six months from Nov 1.


Oman, the largest labour importer for Bangladesh, will halt recruitment of foreign workers for construction and cleaning jobs for the next six months beginning from tomorrow.

“In a bid to clamp down on illegal foreign workers, Oman’s manpower ministry has decided not to allow small construction and cleaning companies to recruit expatriate workers,” said Major AKM Rabiul Islam, labour counsellor of the Bangladeshi embassy in Oman. He added, “We have received the message and informed our government.”

The Middle Eastern country hires per month around 10,000 workers from Bangladesh on average, according to the statistics of Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training. The statistics show that of the 3,39,500 Bangladeshi workers who have so far migrated abroad since January this year, as many as 1,11,726 migrated to Oman alone. Officials of the embassy as well as manpower exporters in Bangladesh have expressed concern over the possible negative impact of the decision on the country’s labour export.

“Of course the decision will affect our country’s manpower export, but there are some other prospective sectors like farming, hospitality and service, where our people can find work,” Rabiul told The Daily Star over the phone. A spokesperson for Oman’s manpower ministry told the Gulf News that the decision to suspend recruitment of foreign labour in the two sectors was taken to ensure regulation of labour market and review of the actual needs for labour in different activities. It is urgent to stop allowing smaller companies to offer visas and hire employees who obtain “free visa” and work illegally, he noted.

The spokesperson, however, asserted that the decision would not apply to listed companies in certain categories (excellent, international, consultant) and to those implementing government projects. The manpower ministry of the Gulf country had cancelled 16,147 visas, including those of overstaying visitors, in the last one month and its police detained 2,320 expatriate workers in the last two months for violating residency and labour laws. Contacted, Ali Haider Chowdhury, secretary general of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies, said he hopes the Bangladesh government will take proper action in this regard.

Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry Secretary Zafar Ahmed Khan, however, claimed that the decision would not significantly affect the country’s labour export.

@rrajowan / eNewsDesk ME /

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Rajowan Syed

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