Bangladesh ‘postpones’ lifting of suspension on manpower export to Lebanon

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: Bangladesh has not ‘stopped’ exporting manpower in Lebanon, but ‘postponed’ it for the moment: Envoy
Around 150,000 Bangladeshi workers are currently employed in Lebanon, mostly as home helpers

DHAKA: “I have been waiting to go Lebanon for the last six months. It was all set and I was about to take the flight in the next few weeks,” says 27-year-old Mohammed Azimuddin, a Bangladeshi laborer, hoping to find a better future abroad.
Azimuddin was supposed to join a Lebanese company as a cleaner. But now he has to wait another few months as Bangladesh has “postponed” the export of manpower to Lebanon until further notice.
Bangladesh had announced the suspension of exported labor to Lebanon on Aug. 26, citing problems created by some of the recruiting agents.
“It has been decided that the attestation of job contracts by the Embassy of Bangladesh in Beirut will remain suspended until further orders,” read a statement issued by the Bangladeshi mission in Beirut.
Now, many Bangladeshi workers such as Azimuddin are uncertain of their future.
The authorities in Bangladesh are preparing a “new guideline” for the recruiting agents to send workers to Lebanon, putting many aspiring jobseekers in dismay.
However, Bangladesh Ambassador to Lebanon Abdul Motaleb Sarker told Arab News that they have not “stopped” exporting manpower to Lebanon but rather “postponed” it.
“We are currently drafting new guidelines in this regard and are passing through a transition phase,” said Sarker.
The new system will require the recruiting agencies to initially submit their recruiting requirements to the Bangladesh Embassy, which will “examine and scrutinize” the employers’ job requirements.
“Recently, many Bangladeshi workers were confronted with a situation where they found themselves doing a different job after landing in Lebanon from what they were promised by the recruiter. We are now streamlining the process to eradicate the irregularities which will help hundreds of Bangladeshi workers abroad,” said Sarker.
Ali Haider, former secretary-general of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies, told Arab News: “In Lebanon’s labor market, some Bangladeshi middlemen have created trouble for the past few years. In many cases, these middlemen are increasing the cost of exporting manpower, eventually burdening our poor workers.”
He urged the government to take immediate steps to “protect the poor workers’ rights.”
During a recent visit to Lebanon, Dr. Namita Halder, expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment secretary of Bangladesh, announced to enhance the staff at Bangladeshi mission in Beirut to resolve the manpower export issue and ensure the wellbeing of the expatriate workers.
Bangladesh mission chief Sarker expects to receive the additional staff in the coming months and hopes to be able to resume the manpower export process soon.
Around 150,000 Bangladeshi workers are currently serving in Lebanon’s labor market, mostly as home helpers. Bangladesh has sent around 80,000 housemaids to Lebanon in the past few years alone.
Currently, Lebanon is not taking labor from Bangladesh in categories other than housemaids and janitors, the Bangladesh ambassador to Lebanon said.
“This has been done with a view to creating more working scope for the refugees from the region. We hope that once the Syrian refugee crisis is over, we will be able to export more human resources to Lebanon in other categories as well,” said Sarker.

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