TE24 Bangladesh Desk:
The cost of relocating Bangladeshi workers traveling to Saudi Arabia to obtain a work visa ordered by the embassy in Dhaka is being pretended to be an undue expense and their employing agency is charging them an additional amount.
So it has increased by at least Rs 20,000 in recent months. Bangladeshi labor brokers claim they have to “informally” pay $220-$250 to the embassy through an intermediary for each work visa application. Otherwise the embassy will not issue the visa.
However, the Saudi Arabian Embassy told Business Standard that there is no fee or charge for applying for a visa at the embassy. Employers further claim that payments have been going on secretly for almost a year. They say employers have to pay brokers directly in US dollars to get work visas, and this extra cost is ultimately passed on to workers, increasing their migration costs. Widespread illegal transactions for issuing work visas. Cost of immigration to Saudi Arabia has been determined
1.65 rakhi by the government, but workers traveling to Saudi Arabia have to spend 3.5-4 rakhi for this purpose.
Participation in “Visa Transactions”.
“Visa trading” – collecting official notices from employers through intermediaries and selling them to employers in source countries like Bangladesh – is illegal.
However, the practice is still widespread, forcing job seekers to raise additional amounts while preparing to work abroad. Now, overpaying the embassy for issuing visas is a new addition to the existing illegal transactions, the recruiter said.
“The Saudi embassy did not issue the passport visa submitted by my agency until May this year,” a recruiter told TBS on condition of anonymity.
“When I couldn’t help it, I started paying agents $220 per pass, and in the past three months, the embassy has issued about 200 visas for passports submitted by my agency. I did,” he said.
There were brokers, they said they were not employees of the Saudi embassy. “But the brokers seem to have inside connections at the embassy, particularly because they may be in contact with some HMAS Bungare officials there,” he said.
According to the Bangladesh International Recruiters Association (BAILA), about 700 of the currently 1,500 registered recruiters are employed by the Saudi embassy and may send workers to the Gulf countries.
The agency can submit up to 30 passports per week to the Saudi embassy, but there is no limit to the number of passports a female worker can submit.
“If a government agency has 400 formal notices a month, it can legally submit up to 120 passports to the embassy,” said a former baila leader, subject to anonymity. “Passport submitted without explaining why.”
“But more than 100 passports are accepted at the same time and visas are issued through the back door, so employers are forced to pay dollars [to get visas],” he added. ..
Tasneem Siddiqui, Founding Chair of the Refugee Immigration Movement Research Unit (RMMRU) said:
Comment from the Saudi Embassy
TBS sent an email to the Saudi Arabian embassy seeking comment on the allegations. In response, the embassy referred Dhaka’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Isa bin Yusuf Al-Dahilan said: In this case, known as Enjaz (Electronic Application for Saudi Visa), the applicant has to pay a small fee and the money is paid. Not cash but online.
Some visa brokers, middlemen, brokers and agents have misused the name of the embassy to steal extra money from visa applicants. Again directly with the Saudi Embassy. There is no way to make a deal.”
Meanwhile, in a press conference held at the embassy on June 22 this year, Saudi Arabia said that they have issued about 6,000 visas so far this year. They all work on visas.
We are struggling to cope with the huge influx of visa applicants. 8,000 to 10,000 visas are issued daily. “There are plans to increase the daily visa issuance rate in the future, he said.
On February 24 this year, the Saudi Embassy in Dhaka issued 12,300 visas in a single day, an unprecedented high visa issuance. According to the Bureau of Human Resources and Training (BMET), the largest destination for Bangladeshi workers accounted for 63% of all Bangladeshi migrant workers’ overseas employment this year through June.
About 3.85 million Bangladeshis are employed in the state. In the first six months of 2022, the total employment of foreigners was around 6.14 raks. Bangladeshis working in Saudi Arabia remitted around $8,955 million during the same period. As, about 23,000 Bangladeshis are working in various sectors of the country.
In 2019, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement to end the “visa transaction”. This will significantly increase recruitment costs and contribute to detention and forced labor abroad, but there is still no visible progress in stopping illegal activity.
In 2016, an estimated US$2.1 billion was laundered from Bangladesh through illegal transactions to pay for work visas in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Singapore and Malaysia Transparency International Bangladesh.
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