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Saudi doors open
Sunday, 14 August 2016

Saudi Arabia has lifted its ban on employing workers from Bangladesh. In fact, it was in February that this ban was lifted after which thousands of men and women have gone on to take up jobs in the domestic sector there. Now the country has announced it will take workers in other sectors as well.

Bangladesh’s High Commissioner in Saudi Arabia has said this is good news and a diplomatic feat. But how long this news will remain good is yet to be seen. Previously there had been news that Malaysia would take thousands of workers from Bangladesh, but then in actuality they completely stopped recruiting foreign workers.

There are no such apprehensions about Saudi Arabia, but the problem lies elsewhere. The drop in oil prices has led to an economic crunch there. The job market has shrunk and many are not paid properly, it is reported. Then there is the abuse of women workers. This is totally unacceptable in a country where Sharia law is in place. Due thought must be given to job security and human dignity of those going there on employment.

A memorandum can be signed with Saudi Arabia in this regard, determining wages and other conditions. Workers do not have the right to form unions in Saudi Arabia, but at least they should be accorded minimum human dignity. At the same time, the authorities must be vigilant about dishonest manpower agents so they cannot cheat the hapless workers.