B’deshi Workers Worst Victims of Crackdown in Qatar
Mohammad Ataur Rahman of Sreepur, in Gazipur who returned home on May 1 from the gulf state of Qatar said that he was forcedly sent back home by the Qatari police.
‘Though I had work permit valid until November 2018, I was detained, jailed and deported by the Qatari police,’ he said.
With a dream to change his fate by earning foreign currency, Ataur Rahman had migrated to Qatar on June 2014 after paying Tk 405,000 to a broker.
After landing in Qatar, he found a cleaner job under the company of United Group which had supplied the cleaners to the cities.
At least 35 Bangladeshis were detained by Qatari police along with him a week ago when he went to meet his friend few kilometers away from his workplace in Doha, he said.
Ataur said that at least 70 Bangladeshi workers who were deported by Qatari government arrived in Dhaka from Doha by a schedule flight of Qatar Airways on May 1.
‘There was no job in Qatar. Many Bangladeshis were suffering from various problems including denial of wages regularly,’ he said.
Ataur also alleged that the Bangladesh embassy has been issuing out-passes to the detained workers without scrutinizing the travel documents properly.
Like him hundreds of Bangladeshi migrant workers were the worst victims of the massive crackdown in Qatar launched the drives against undocumented foreign nationals since last couple of weeks.
Returnee workers said that there were so many Bangladeshi workers who were not provided Iqama or the work permissions after arrival in the gulf state.
The Qatari police continued to arrest, detain and deport the Bangladeshi workers in batches despite having valid documents, they said.
When asked, Bangladesh embassy’s labour counselors Sirajul Islam said that the crackdown was a regular drive of the Qatari authorities against the undocumented workers of all nationalities before staring of Ramadan.
‘The crackdown will help bring discipline for the regular migrant workers, even from Bangladesh who are employed in the gulf state,’ he said
According to BMET records, Qatar recruited over seven lakh workers from Bangladesh since 1976.
Some victims and returnee migrants said in the backdrop of absence of jobs, some companies in Doha continued hiring Bangladeshi workers with collaboration with few recruiting agencies in Dhaka.
About 3.80 lakh Bangladeshi workers are currently employed in Qatar, said officials at Bangladesh embassy. About 60 per cent of the Bangladeshi workers are employed under companies which provide them foods and accommodations.
Migrant right activist Al Amin Noyon said that Bangladeshi workers were frequently returning home losing jobs in Qatar. We are getting complaints from the victims and their family members,’ he said.
Migrant rights campaigner and WARBE Development Foundation chairman Syed Saiful Haque said that the undocumented workers should be brought under registration for regularization in Qatar without sending them back home.
‘Bangladesh embassy will have to take necessary steps to protect the rights of the migrant workers,’ he said.