About 25,000 Bangladeshi workers were deported from different countries, about 50 per cent from Saudi Arabia, in almost nine months period of this year due to various factors like overstaying and lack of legal documents at the job destination countries.
Of the total, about 1,000 were female workers.
According to data at the BRAC Migration Programme , some 12,000 Bangladeshi workers sent back home from Saudi Arabia during the period from January to September 18 while 4,500 from United Arab Emirates (UAE), 3,000 from Oman, 2,500 from Malaysia, 1,500 from Qatar and 1,000 from Maldives.
Shariful Islam, head of BRAC Migration Programme said generally workers are deported home from Middle East because of problems like overstaying, becoming undocumented etc.
But the recent trend of returning workers from Saudi Arabia is quite different - many of the returnees have Iqama and valid documents, he said. So it should be investigated by the Bangladesh government why the people are being sent back home by the Saudi authorities.
He also emphasised on regular migration to stop such unexpected deportation.
"Although there is no existence of free visas, a section of manpower recruiters are sending workers with such visas," he said, adding that it also should be taken under scrutiny.
Some 160 Bangladeshi male workers were sent back home on Tuesday last from Saudi Arabia. They said they were arrested and sent to jail despite having legal work permits.
With the latest group, a total of 389 Bangladeshi workers have returned to Bangladesh in a week.
Besides, other Middle-Eastern countries like Qatar, Oman and Kuwait have also shrunk recruitment of foreign workers. So the Bangladeshis who are going to the countries without valid job contracts are facing big trouble, sector insiders said.
Saudi labour and social development ministry banned foreign workers under 12 categories from January 2018. Hiring expatriate workers has been restricted for car and motorbike showrooms, readymade clothes stores, home and office furniture stores, and home appliance and utensil stores.
Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Programme Chairman Shakirul Islam said manpower recruiters are not following proper process while sending the workers abroad. So, a good number of workers become undocumented at their job destination countries, he said.
He also said workers many times overstaying after the expiry of their contract period as they spend a large amount of money as migration cost.
If they can realise their migration cost within three months of their jobs, the trend of overstaying of the workers will reduce significantly, Mr Islam said. So the government should take proper steps to ensure workers' interests, he added.
On average 50,000 Bangladeshi workers are deported each year. About 500,000 Bangladeshis sent back home in the last one decade, BRAC data showed.
Migration experts also emphasised on keeping returnee Bangladeshi migrants' data as it is necessary to bring them under reintegration programme and utilise their skills in different sectors.
Over 12 million Bangladeshis went abroad since 1976 and most of them secured jobs in Middle East, according to data from the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training.
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