UAE labour market to be open soon

Manpower exporters optimistic as the expatriate minister visiting the country

Reza Mahmud

The manpower exports in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) may soon reopen with fresh pledges to boost labour market in that country. After its virtual closure in 2012, manpower exports to the UAE is expected to substantially increase as the ministry concern has given a special focus on the issue.

Giving its due significance the Expatriates Welfare Minister Imran Ahmed has left Dhaka on Tuesday for UAE to discuss the manpower issue in UAE. “In this worst time of the global labour market, we are optimistic that the door of the UAE will reopen soon,” Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman, General Secretary of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies-BAIRA told Bangladesh Post on Tuesday.

He said that the Minister is visiting UAE to discuss about full-fledged opening of the labour market for Bangladeshi workers in the UAE. According to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) about 2,50,000 Bangladeshi workers had been working as registered workers in United Arab Emirate before 2012. This figure had been gradually reduced and now virtually there is no Bangladeshi workers in UAE.

Statistics also show that following 2012, about 14,000 workers went to UAE in 2013, about 24,000 in 2014, 25,000 in 2015, 8,000 in 2016, 4,000 in 2017 and less than the number in 2018. More than twenty-three lakh Bangladeshis are employed in the country from 1976 till now. While, above twenty-six lakh workers are employed in Saudi Arabia, the largest destination of Bangladeshi manpower in the recent time.

‘Our business faces near closure as the main labour markets are gradually shutting down. The decline is quite evident in Saudi Arabia is recruiting workers from Bangladesh very few in numbers. The second largest market UAE are near to shut down,’ said, Shariful Islam, an executive of Dynamic Trade Syndicate, a recruiting agency in the city.

He said, the government should try utmost to open all the closed labour markets like, UAE and Malaysia as soon as possible. The hundreds of recruiting agencies with their employees are suffering for the numbers of closed markets. Besides, huge numbers of workers waiting to go abroad also passing days in unemployment condition, manpower experts said.

In this circumstances, the minister’s visit to the UAE are creating hopes among the concerns. They said, that the manpower businessmen are crying for long to take steps to open the UAE market for Bangladeshi workers. As a result, expatriate minister and higher officials earlier have visited the country several times.

They have discussed the matter with UAE labour and welfare minister and officials. However, no way paved so far in this regards. But the officials and businessmen said that though the market has not been opened yet, but the process were advanced. ‘It is true that large scale manpower export are stopped in UAE, but the process is not stopped. We are pushing the door through diplomatic ways and the progress is advancing slowly so far,’ an official of the ministry said it requesting anonymity.

Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman also expressed his hope that the UAE market will be opened soon in this visit of the minister. ‘We are optimistic about starting Bangladeshi manpower in the country soon in this tour of the minister, because, some progress already had taken place in his previous trips in the country,’ he said.