The uncertainty of returning to their workplaces has grasped the Saudi Arabia bound migrant workers as they struggle to get return tickets from Saudi Airlines amid country-wide lockdown.
Mizanur Rahman, hailed from Noakhali, whose flight got cancelled on 17 April due to lockdown told The Business Standard, "My visa was extended for another month after it expired on 18 April, but I still couldn't manage a ticket."
Arifur Rahman, who came from Narsingdi, also had his Saudi Airlines flight cancelled on 19 April.
He lamented to TBS, "It is alright that the government has cancelled all international flights due to lockdown, then why is it arranging special flights now? It was better not to cancel the flights in the first place or they could have kept the expatriate workers out of the lockdown purview. Because of this decision of the government expatriates had to come out of the house anyway."
Mahbubur Rahman from Barisal angrily told TBS, "On Thursday they told me to come on Saturday, now they are saying today is a holiday so come tomorrow morning to get the ticket. I have been living in sheer exasperation for the last seven days!"
The government on April 14 suspended the operation of all international passenger flights to and from Bangladesh for a week to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the authorities decided the following day to operate at least 100 special flights to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Singapore in a week from Saturday so that several thousand migrant workers can return to work.
Saudi Arabia-bound migrants found themselves in a mad rush for tickets in front of the Saudi Airlines office ever since the government announced special flights for the migrant workers. However, the attempt to send the expatriates back to Saudi Arabia got stumbled as many of these special flights are being cancelled since the first day they were supposed to fly, 17 April.