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The Financial Express

Saudi-bound workers face harassment in obtaining Covid certificate

| Updated: September 25, 2020 23:48:11


Saudi-bound workers face harassment in obtaining Covid certificate

Saudi-bound stranded Bangladeshi expatriates were subjected to various harassment regarding obtaining Covid-19 certificates as the first flight of about 260 workers is scheduled on Friday night.

The coronavirus sample test centre at the DNCC market fixed the delivery time of certificates to the workers who gave sample on Friday morning at 6.00 PM. The centre will inform them through mobile message.

But many of them told The Financial Express that they did not get any massage by this time.

Mohammad Arif, one of the Saudi-bound worker said they did not get any message IEDCER until 6.45 PM. He also came to know that IEDCER has extended the time frame of delivering certificates to 9.00 PM.

Arif said, he is now worried as his flight schedule is on 12.00 PM. “If I miss the flight, I will fail to join my work,” he said.

Like him, many of his fellow collogues are facing same sufferings as they did not get certificate, so far, he said.  

He also said he received air ticket on Thursday evening. But the Saudi-bound workers need certificate of Covid-19 test within 48 hours.

So, he went to Mohakhali to give sample after getting the ticket. But he found the centre closed and they were suggested to come Friday morning.

However, Some 260 Bangladeshis are scheduled to fly to Saudi Arabia on Saudi Airlines SV-802 flight.

Many of them were waiting for Covid-19 certificates.

Meanwhile: Saudi Arabia has agreed to extend the validity of iqama for Bangladeshi workers by 24 days on Wednesday last.

The stranded Bangladeshi workers, whose visas have already expired, will now be able to apply for the extension of visa from Sunday, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told the media on the day.

The iqama (work permit) of expatriate Bangladeshi workers will remain valid for 24 more days and if required, there will be further extension, he added.

The Saudi authority also gave permission to the Biman Bangladesh Airlines to operate four special flights.

Following the development, the Biman, in a press release, said the national flag carrier will operate special flights on the Dhaka-Jeddah route on September 26 and on Dhaka-Riyadh route on September 27 for the return ticket holders who were scheduled to fly on March 16 and 17 respectively.

Earlier in the day, a significant number of Saudi-bound migrant workers demonstrated in front of the Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry in Dhaka after failing to manage air tickets. They raised their demand for extension of Saudi visas and the validity of iqama so that they can join their work in the oil-rich country.

In response, expatriates' welfare minister Imran Ahmad talked to a delegation of the agitated workers and told them that the foreign ministry has sent a note verbal to the Saudi authorities with a request to extend the visas and validity of the work permits for at least three months.

The minister also said they would hopefully get the reply by Sunday and convey the message to the workers on Monday.

arafataradhaka@gmail.com

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