10,000 illegal Bangladeshi workers in Bahrain
Manama, May 9, 2010
More than 10,000 Bangladeshis out of a 110,000-strong community are staying in Bahrain illegally, according to a top envoy.
The majority are unaware or confused about visa regulations and need to seek assistance from the authorities concerned, said Bangladesh Embassy first secretary Muhammad Ibrahim.
"There are two types of illegal workers: one, who arrive in Bahrain and their sponsors allow them to work elsewhere, and second, workers who run away from their sponsors," he said.
"There are around 10,000 illegal workers, who are called 'free visa' workers in the community. Many come to the embassy seeking help in this regard. But they are confused about what to do because they are not aware of Bahrain's rules and regulations.
"There are some Bangladeshi agents who take up the responsibility of some illegal workers, promising them jobs and accommodation, which is illegal.
"They even force some workers to leave their jobs, promising them another one with better wages. Once the workers run away from their sponsors, they don't get the promised salary and then they regret their decision."
Ibrahim said that sometimes when the workers' visas or passports expire, they neglect to renew them. "They wouldn't care to renew them as they are too busy trying to make money to support their families back home," he said.
"So they come to the embassy for assistance and we issue an out pass for them.
"The other type of workers is the one who are brought to Bahrain by a Bahraini sponsor, who don't make them to work only for their company or organisation, but also for other companies."
Ibrahim blamed certain construction and contracting companies for hiring illegal workers and allowing them to work for them. "I don't blame the workers alone, but the companies as well," he said.
"Some companies hire illegal workers as they are cheaper and they can find them easily with the help of some agents. We are unable to trace these agents, as they have high influence and no one would give out their contacts."
Ibrhaim thanked the Bahrain government for its continuous support to the Bangladeshi community and workers. "We are grateful the General Directorate of Nationality, Passport and Residence (GDNPR) and LMRA for their support to Bangladeshis," he said.
Bangladeshis who wish to leave Bahrain through an outpass or transfer their visas from one company to another can contact the embassy in Adliya on 17714717. -TradeArabia News Service