- Each migrant will get Tk20,000-25,000 for hotel booking at Saudi Arabia
- The government decided to administer Covid-19 vaccine to all departing expatriate workers
- A quick response team will be formed to assist workers
- Biman has resumed flights to Saudi after 9 days
The Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment has decided to provide Tk20,000-25,000 each for all Saudi Arabia-bound migrant workers as hotel booking costs for institutional quarantine.
"The ministry has taken the decision in a meeting held last Thursday to reduce the huge financial burden of the migrant workers," Mohammad Rasheduzzaman, assistant personal secretary to the expatriates' welfare minister, told The Business Standard.
The ministry also decided to administer Covid-19 vaccine to all departing expatriate workers so that they do not have to go through mandatory institutional quarantine in different countries including Saudi Arabia.
"If a migrant worker needs Tk40,000 for hotel booking, the ministry will give them Tk20,000 cash assistance. The ministry will provide TK25,000 to the Saudi-bound workers who need Tk50,000 and above for hotel booking," said Rasheduzzaman.
He said the financial assistance will also be provided to those who have already gone to Saudi Arabia since its new travel advisory on institutional quarantine in hotel came into effect on 20 May.
A worker needs around Tk60,000-70,000 for booking a hotel room for quarantine stay in Saudi Arabia, said Saudi-bound workers and recruiting agency owners.
Officials of Saudia, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, announced on 25 May that they can no longer help migrant workers with hotel bookings.
Several thousand Saudi-bound Bangladeshi migrant workers have been facing untold sufferings due to the new travel advisory of Saudi Arabia that requires medical insurance against Covid-19 infections and hotel reservations for seven days of institutional quarantine.
The Saudi authorities said workers disregarding these requirements shall be deported and banned from entering the Middle East country indefinitely.
According to the Saudi travel notice, there is no need for quarantine for non-residents and first-time visitors who have passed 14 days since receiving all doses of vaccine. They must provide a certificate or proof in accordance with the requirements set by the ministry of health.
Around 40,000 expatriate workers are waiting to go to Saudi Arabia in the next one and a half months, according to manpower recruiters.
Quick response team to be formed to assist workers
Considering the ongoing sufferings of the expatriate workers, the ministry officials said they will form a "quick response team" to provide assistance to the migrant workers.
"A director of the Wage Earners Welfare Board will head the three-member team, which will look into different problems the workers are facing, not only during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but also in other times," said Mohammad Rasheduzzaman, assistant personal secretary to the expatriates' welfare minister.
Biman resumes flights to Saudi after 9 days:
After nine days of suspension, Biman Bangladesh Airlines resumed flights to Saudi Arabia on Saturday in line with the new travel advisory issued by the Gulf country.
The Biman flights are scheduled to leave Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for Dammam at 3:30pm, and for Jeddah at 6:15pm.
On 19 May, Biman had primarily suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia for five days starting from 20 May.
Biman later extended the suspension period for four more days as it failed to complete taking necessary measures to comply with the travel advisory.