Greek Minister for Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, expressed interest to make some arrangement for recruiting agricultural workers from Bangladesh on a short term basis.
During a meeting with Bangladesh Ambassador Ashud Ahmed, the minister also expressed his interest to promote regular and safe migration.
Ambassador Ashud Ahmed met Notis Mitarachi at his office in Athens on Wednesday. There they discussed different issues related to the migration and wellbeing of Bangladeshi expatriate community in Greece, read a press release by the foreign ministry.
Bangladesh Ambassador proposed the Minister to consider bringing the large number of Bangladeshi nationals working in the agricultural sector of Greece to the legal fold who are positively contributing to the economy of Greece.
He proposed either to regularise their status by issuing residence permit to them or registering them as agricultural workers which will allow them to have access to health, sanitation, security and legal services.
Migration and Asylum Minister Mitarachi responded positively and informed that the Greek Government is going to issue 15000 temporary work permits to irregular agricultural workers given that they apply through their respective employers.
However, he reaffirmed that the irregular migrants who have exhausted all legal means to stay have to return to their country of origin. The Greek government is strictly pursuing this policy to stem irregular migration and smuggling and wants to facilitate regular migration by all means.
In response to the proposal of the Ambassador Ashud Ahmed to establish a legal framework for the recruitment of Bangladeshi agricultural workers, Minister Mitarachi expressed the Greek government's readiness to positively consider such proposal from Bangladesh. He mentioned that Agricultural workers from Bangladesh may be issued with two years working visa which would be beneficial for both sides.
The ambassador also requested to expedite the processing of pension for Bangladeshi expatriates upon return to Bangladesh after retirement. The Minister was optimistic about the issue and assured of his support in this regard.
Ambassador Ashud Ahmed also discussed some other issues of mutual interest with the Minister including joint celebration of the Bicentennial of the Greek independence and Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh, sustainable accommodation for Bangladeshi workers in Greece etc.